Blade Edge

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Social Netiquette – My opinions

February 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Personal

I don’t normally do opinionated posts like this but I recognize the value of the internet for discussion of opinions and so I’m sharing mine in this case. The topic in question is how I handle certain online social interactions. I’ll be highlighting the two services that I use most, twitter and Facebook. I use both differently and don’t mix the two. I have my twitter friends (tweeps, twaps, twats, whatever the hell you want to call them) and then I have my Facebook friends. In some cases they overlap, but that doesn’t really affect how I interact with them. Just because I friend someone on Facebook doesn’t mean I immediately go and look up their twitter account, and vice-versa.


I use twitter to track people’s lives (as creepy as that may sound), learn new things from links people post, and in turn share my life and cool interesting things that I stumble across while surfing the vast ‘nets. I do not use twitter as an IM client. Any conversation that I engage in with another person generally tends to last between 2-3 replies between the both of us, and I usually will not reply unless I feel it’s worth showing up on my follower’s timelines. If it’s not, I will send a Direct Message.

Personally I wish more people would use Direct Messages instead of Replies. I’ve unfollowed a couple of people because all they would do is clog my timeline with @ tweets. Like I said before, I’m following people I’m interested in, which means I will read every tweet a person makes – this gets tiresome quickly when I’m also reading a dozen or so conversations they’re having with people I don’t also follow. Training myself to skim over replies by looking for the @ symbol is only marginally effective.

When deciding whom on my Followers list to Follow back, I generally do so for people who reply to my tweets thoughtfully or helpfully. Knowing the person will increase the chances that I will follow them, but I have no problems following a complete stranger who has expressed interest in me, as it’s more than likely that I will also end up interested in them as well. This is because I don’t have any qualms with tweeting who I am, and generally the people who follow me carry my same interests, ideas, etc. If someone unfollows me I’m not going to think “oh man, what did I say or do that made them do that?”. I just accept that they weren’t interested in what I have to say.


Facebook is an entirely different animal from twitter, mainly due to the kind of information that you can make available to people. Luckily you can setup your account to limit the amount of information the people see in your profile, so if you do your homework this isn’t such a big issue.

Mainly my latest beef with Facebook is people sending a simple request to be my friend and that’s it. Their assumption that I somehow know them is usually not justified at all (although on some level I suppose I find it flattering). In the cases where it’s an old classmate I was friends with, a current friend, a friend I’ve met in real life through a current friend – an introduction of any sort isn’t really neccessary, though it is nice.

The worst is when someone I don’t know or kind of know but never really talked to or haven’t talked to in several years requests to be my friend but gives no reason as to why. Well, gee I’m really happy that you’d like to be my “friend” but, uhm… who are you? Or, what do you want with me after all these years? In the former case it’s kind of like walking up to someone, shaking their hand and then staring at them. Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable? It’s no better when the person in question has like 1300 friends already. The first thing to pop into your head is “friend whore”. Nor is acceptable that this person and I simply have numerious friends in common. I hate to sound like people need to write me an acceptance essay but in many, many cases the information they reveal to me in their profiles doesn’t make me want to be friends with them.

Why? Because while I’m very picky about who I friend up with on Facebook, the one defining factor is that all my friends are people who I find interesting, want to stay in touch with, and in many cases learn from. For example I’ve met game industry luminary Warren Spector in person maybe 3-4 times over the course of 6 years. He’s someone I want to follow out of interest in his career and how he’s affecting the games biz. When I requested to be his friend I made sure to include a message telling him this and informing him that I would understand if he chose to keep his Facebook friends to a more personal basis – after reminding him who I was of course, and how we had met in person previously. Assuming everyone will always remember who you are is egotistical to me.

Blah blah blah

That’s really about it right now. These are just minor things that have managed to get under my skin (which is tough, I’m told that I’m a very laid back person) and that I wanted to share in case people have similar feelings or are looking to make themselves more appealing to other social users. I guess also in case any recent friend requesters who happen to see this try and request to be my friend again with a bit more of an introduction. I’d at least consider being their friend in that case.

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