Interaction Across Social Media Platforms

I recently received an interesting comment on my 10 Thoughts for Friday post. I mentioned in the post that I respond to invites from people on LinkedIn with a short message asking them to clarify why they’re connecting with me. My wording:

Hi x, 

Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  

Thank you and take care,

Cristina

Vicki commented on the post and urged me to accept the LinkedIn contacts, stating that “Nearly never will you be connected to by a weirdo – and if you are, it doesn’t reflect on you. LinkedIn is simply about building your network, sharing ideas, and making new business acquaintances…” In contrast, her thoughts were to be more cautious with Facebook and Twitter: “this is where I might use your response, to vet your new connections.” Lastly she said “You want your FB friends to actually be friends (or, I do).”

All of this got me thinking about how different individuals interact across social media platforms, their actions often based on assumptions or past experiences. Although there are very few formal rules governing our social media interactions, people have formed divergent ideas of etiquette- some platform by platform and others about social media as a whole.

Here is how I approach each platform and why:

  • LinkedIn: By now, you know my philosophy on LinkedIn. I accept people I know and follow up with those I don’t know. But there’s a reason that I don’t readily accept everyone: I actually had a weird experience with LinkedIn that changed my perspective a bit. I was added by an individual who was connected to others that I know and trust. Turns out, he wanted me to join his iffy business venture. I don’t think I would have been so trusting if I hadn’t seen that others I knew were connected to him. Hence my reasoning for being more cautious in accepting invites. There are also features on LinkedIn that lend themselves to keeping a curated network. You can ask contacts to connect you to their contacts. If people in the chain don’t know each other in real life, it dilutes the effectiveness of this feature because they are unable to vouch for each other. For more on my LinkedIn philosophy, see my post To Connect or Not to Connect: The Rules of LinkedIn.
  • Twitter: My love affair with Twitter is well-known. I see it as the most open of all the social networks. I welcome any and all follows that are not porn bots 🙂  Unless you have a closed account, you can’t control who follows you, so I don’t think it reflects on you (in contrast to LinkedIn, for example, where you have to make a decision whether to accept or reject a connection). As for who I follow: if I am interested in the content of the tweets, I will follow the person. I see Twitter as more about content than relationships (in contrast again to LinkedIn).
  • Foursquare: I sometimes get requests from strangers on FourSquare, which I decline. I share the check-ins that I want others to see on Twitter, but I prefer only my friends to see some, so I think it’s important to keep this network closed.
  • Facebook: As Vicki said, Facebook is for your real friends. 100% agreed! As I said in my comment to her, I see it as the only place on the internet where I can be my 22 (almost 23!) year old self. One thing that makes it slightly more complicated: Raleigh networking is very casual, so sometimes the line between friend and acquaintance blurs. In the past year, I’ve begun accepting business contacts, which I have mixed feelings about.
  • Pinterest: I’m not sharing anything particularly personal, so I’m flattered when people follow my boards. I follow boards of friends and other people that I stumble upon 🙂
  • Blog: The more the merrier!

Clearly, I approach each social media platform differently. I think it’s important to do so because they all have unique missions and features that make them more fitting for one kind of relationship over another (i.e. LinkedIn provides more value to business relationships than friendships). If I were to approach each platform in the same way, I may as well just be using one, right?

Where do you stand? Why? Do you approach social media as a whole or platform by platform? 

Thank you to Vicki for prompting such an interesting discussion!

Does It Really Come When You Least Expect It?

As the adage goes, things {like relationships} happen when you least expect them. Accordingly, people tell you to stop searching and just wait for something great to come along.

But when you move to a new city, do you wait for friends to come along? No, you join Meetup groups and kickball teams and go to classes at the Y. When you get fired, do you wait for a job opportunity to come along? No, you find networking events and search CareerBuilder religiously.

So why doesn’t this logic apply to relationships? Why is putting yourself out there, testing out speed dating, or joining an online dating site often considered desperate instead of just taking control of your dating life?

I’m all about the philosophy that things happen for a reason and often things do come when you least expect them. But I don’t use that mentality as justification for sitting back and hoping luck takes over. On the flip side, I do think there’s a big difference between getting out there and being flat-out desperate.

I also think there’s something to be said for living a full, engaged life and having side benefits {like a relationship!} be part of your “reward.”

What do you think? Do things happen when you least expect them or do you need to put yourself out there? 

Whenever I write my Thought of the Day posts, I think about the fact that you can find a piece of wisdom to match anything you feel. Ever noticed that?

For more on my philosophy on created luck, see this post!

A Look into Codependency

Photo credit

“Codependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself” – Source

“When we focus so much outside ourselves, we lose touch with what is inside of us: our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, experiences” – Source

As a very independent person, I have a {probably unwarranted} fear of codependency. For many people, codependency is a very serious issue that often goes hand-in-hand with mental health issues or substance abuse. For me and in this blog post, I just mean a much less serious but still important tendency to over-rely on those around you, like a family member or significant other.

Like feeling the need to ask permission from someone before making a decision. Consulting the other person before making solid plans. Seeking approval and affirmation from the person. Sensitivity to criticism from said person. Maybe feeling like this person should reciprocate the above feelings.

Here’s some tips on how to overcome it codependency if you feel yourself slipping into it:

  • Work on maintaining or establishing your own life: make and keep plans with your own friends; pick up your own hobby; join a team {like kickball!}.
  • Make time for yourself: just because you can hang out with someone doesn’t mean you always should. Making time for yourself is just as important as maintaining your other relationships.
  • Take ownership of your schedule: unless there’s an absolute need to consult the other person, set your own agenda. Don’t leave your schedule open solely in hopes that the other person will want to hang out.
  • Find inner peace or even approval from others: it’s not always enough to know you’re awesome, sometimes you need to hear it. Keep an Evernote of positive things people say to you. If you’re not getting great feedback from the person you feel codependent on, turn to your note as a reminder that other people think highly of you.

Have you ever felt codependent? How did you overcome or mitigate this tendency?

on improving relationships

Since adding Tiny Buddha to my Google Reader, I think I’ve starred about 75% of the posts so that I could remember to come back to them! I always find their daily reminders relevant, insightful, and memorable.

Buddha…with shades!

A recent article really caught my eye though: The Relationships We Wish We Could Improve. I’m willing to wager that most of you have felt like you wanted to improve a current relationship but felt at a loss for how to do it.

This is one of those articles where I want to copy and paste the whole thing, but I’ll just provide you with a few of the points and quotes that stood out to me :

“Years ago, a therapist told me we can’t ever change other people; we can only change how we respond to them.” 

“But what do we do when we respond more calmly, or try to see things differently, but we still find ourselves getting hurt?”

“I’ve learned that changing our response to people means changing how we engage with them.”

“… it’s our job to recognize that so we don’t continually cause ourselves stress by trying to smash a square peg into a round hole.”

“…we change when we realize what we might lose if we don’t, and recognize that the discomfort of doing things differently is better than the pain of that loss.”

“We can’t make someone else make an effort. But we can make smart decisions for our own well-being. This may inspire someone else to change; it might not. Either way, we’ve honored the most important relationship in our lives: the one we have with ourselves.”

But the quote that stood out to me the most:

“It might mean refusing to feel guilty or defensive, taking things less personally, or modeling the type of behavior we’d like to see in them.”

I have a really hard time not feeling guilty even if I know or feel that I’m in the right. This guilt often prevents me from making rational decisions or standing my ground, so this point really spoke to me. I also often take things personally, even if I know it’s not about me. Lastly, I love the suggestion of modeling behavior that we would like to see- reminds me of the Golden Rule. I think it’s important to find the fine line between being kind and having a backbone, though.

Did this article speak to anyone else? What other techniques do you use for managing and improving relationships? 

lady gaga recently said…

“Some women follow men while others follow their dreams. When deciding which to follow, just remember your career will never wake up and tell you it doesn’t love you any more.”

 I respectfully disagree, Lady Gaga. We’ve all heard many a-story about cosmopolitan career-oriented women pouring sweat, tears, and countless hours into their fast-tracked jobs, only to be replaced by someone younger, “smarter,” “more in touch with the times,” or, let’s face it, sexier. So in a way, it’s a perfect parallel between a man waking up and telling you he doesn’t love you anymore. Only in this case, it might be a whole boardroom full of men.

I’m certainly not advocating giving up your professional dreams to pursue a man. If a man asked me to give up my entrepreneurial endeavors to follow him mindlessly, goodness knows that relationship would be over before you could say “Misogynist.” But I think it’s about balance. I know my own tendency to become single-minded in my pursuit of career goals, and I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to be that extreme either.

I think the most important takeaway to keep in mind is that focusing solely on one area of your life is bound to leave you unhappy. As my mentor Julie Kantor once told me, life is a juggling act. You have glass balls and rubber balls. You can’t afford to drop the glass balls because they’re irreparable. The rubber balls represent areas of your life that you can pick back up if they fall. Everyone has different priorities and circumstances, so here’s to determining your own path to work-life balance.

Still agree with Lady Gaga? Think I make an interesting point? Let me know 🙂 

Guys like “green gals”?

From Twitter.com/cmroman: Haha love it! RT @3blnow: Guys Are Looking For Green Gals, Survey Finds:http://bit.ly/9bGfLq

Apparently, “54 percent of men in the United States would refuse to start a relationship with a woman who litters. Another 25 percent would question dating gals who don’t recycle; 23 percent if they left the light on when they weren’t home; 21 percent if they drove a gas-guzzler.” All I have to say: good for guys…and good for me hopefully! 🙂

Andddd:  “As opposed to a more traditional evening out, more than 40 percent of men would prefer an “adventure” date of hiking or rock climbing with a prospective partner.” I would be totally game if a guy were to suggest an outdoor date over a dinner & movie date! I think that’s a perfect way to start a fun, spontaneous relationship!