Dear 100 Hour Board,
What are you rules for friending and unfriending (connecting, following, etc.) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn?
-My Name Here
Dear Invader Timn,
Facebook: I almost always know the person in real life before I am Facebook friends with them, though sometimes this isn't the case, like if I still want to hear what someone is up to, or if maybe I can talk to them about caving or canyoneering or something in the future and don't want to lose my ability to reach out to them. A notable group of people I like but have never met includes a couple Board alumni who I've friended over the last couple of years (Uffish Thought, Humble Master, Hobbes, Man with a Mustache, and Portia, among a number of others)..
I've tried to make a point of remaining friends with people with whom I disagree politically in a feeble effort to avoid my Facebook becoming a political echo chamber and will sometimes like things I find displeasing to try and keep it mixed.
Twitter: I have a Twitter account and have never really figured out what to do with it. I don't really understand how Twitter works, or why people enjoy using it.
Linkedin: If I think I recognize you, we'll connect, if I remember LinkedIn exists.
Instagram: I just got Instagram within the last year and started out with it only being people I knew reasonably well and wanted to hear from, with a particular emphasis on friends who do visual arts and make virtual reality experiences. It's gotten diluted in the last two months or so as I've added accounts of incredibly talented rock and mountain climbers and extreme skiiers I find impressive: Conrad Anker, Hilaree Nelson—she just skiied down the 27,940 foot Lhotse in the Himalayas, guys—Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, among others. Consequently I've sorta felt like I'm garbage comparatively, which I suppose is what you get when for some reason you start comparing yourself to the most talented people among 7.7 billion. It isn't reasonable to be irritated I'm not filming mountaineering documentaries on untouched peaks in Antarctica, but my irritation remains.
--Ardilla Feroz, who hiked the Y not once, but twice
I only have 2 rules:
Trust no one - When you listen to true crime podcasts, you become very wary of other people. If I haven't talked to a person in real life, they don't go on my friends list (with the exception of other Board writers.). If I have talked to them but they scare me they don't get on the list either.
Declutter - Every 3 months or so I go through my Instagram and Facebook and unfollow/unfriend anyone I don't really care to hear from (mostly this is high school acquaintances I haven't talked to since I sat next to them that one time Sophomore year.)
I don't usually unfriend people, but thankfully I've never had anyone post/send me anything so bad it would warrant it. I have definitely stopped following people though (all they post are cat videos, etc.).
Basically if I know them in person I'll friend them. That's...about my only rule. I also basically never post on any of these things—I usually just have them to keep up with my friends' lives or read provoguysamiright or like all of my sister's posts—and I limit how much personal information friends and strangers can access, so while I won't friend people I don't personally know, I'm not super worried if someone slips past my radar.
-guppy of doom
I usually like my social media to be as non-exhausting as possible, so I just have two simple rules.
1. If I don't know the person well enough to want to know what they're up to, I don't send them a request or accept theirs.
2. If, after we have become friends, their posts get really annoying or I find out that they have wacked-out politics and they're constantly posting about it, I unfriend.
It may be simple, but it has served me pretty well so far.
Periodically I'll go through my social media and unfriend anyone who doesn't meet this criteria: if I were to delete my account today and start over, would I add this person as a friend?
That means a lot of people I don't talk to or who don't post often don't make the cut.
I only got an Instagram this summer (mainly because Alta finally convinced me, but also since I wanted to be part of a classic example of a directed social network--one of my areas of research), and accidentally sent requests to the majority of my Facebook friends in this process. But afterwards I was too lazy to actually clean out all the wayward requests I'd sent. In fact, laziness is the main motivating factor for rarely culling my Facebook and Instagram friends.
On LinkedIn, I tend to go through phases of realizing, oh dang jobs and networking are important (usually when I'm trying to avoid something else, i.e. studying for finals), and frantically try and think of all the successful or likely to be successful people in my life to connect with. Outside of those brief phases, I forget LinkedIn exists outside of being a really cool data set I wish I could get my hands on.