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How I decide whether to connect with you on social media

April 9, 2012

Star Trek - God hates black on the left side

I am judging you. You are judging me and everyone else.

By appearance, by grammar, by facial expression, by stance.

And online, I’m judging your social media channels, especially if you bill yourself as an “expert.”

(Side note: I’m disappointed so many are scared off by that word now. I consider myself an expert in many things, including social media.)

I’m pretty picky about who I follow or fan or connect with or circle or whatever the kids call it these days.

My criteria … (Note how they’re questions to set up guidelines, rather than hard-and-fast rules.)


  • Do you tweet? Ever?
  • Do you tweet your RSS feed and nothing else?
  • Do you ever respond to people?
  • Do you follow and unfollow me just to trick me into following you? (Hint: This never works on me.)
  • Do you spam me with the same promo you just spammed a hundred other people with? (Because then I report and block you.)
  • Is your main profile link go to an adult site or other shady business, or is your avatar vulgar? (Automatic no.)
  • Are you a social media “expert”? (I think I’ve followed enough of them for a lifetime. I want diversity in my feed, from dairy farmers to disaffected librarians.)
  • Is your account private? (That’s almost always an automatic no, unless I know you already.)
  • Are you funny?
  • Is your avatar an egg, cartoon figure or corporate symbol? (Not a turn-on, but not a dealbreaker either.)
  • Are you an extremist (political, religious, etc.)? (That’s usually a turn-off.)
  • Do you ever retweet anyone? Are all your tweets just retweets? (I’m looking for a healthy balance.)
  • Are you just tweeting via Facebook? (Automatic no.)
  • Are you asking me to retweet something of yours? (Almost always no.)
  • Are you hashtagging every word?
  • Do you use a Twitter follower verification service? (I hate those. I understand them, but I hate them.)
  • Is your bio blank? Is your location blank? Is your website blank? Does your URL go to a 404 page?


  • Have I met you in person?
  • Are you a business using a profile instead of a page? (This is almost always a no.)


  • Have I met you in person or done business with you?
  • Are you a business using a profile instead of a page? (Oh yes, I’ve seen it on LinkedIn.)
  • Are you someone I trust professionally? (I have kicked people out of my network who are shady in their business practices.)


  • Are you an active pinner? (Zero to five pins = inactive.)


  • Are you someone I remotely recognize? (I see lots and lots of foreign followers on Google+, not necessarily a dealbreaker, but certainly a red flag to me.)


  • Do you post interesting videos about Birmingham?
  • Do you post interesting videos about anything else?

On every network except LinkedIn, you can follow or subscribe to my updates without waiting for my permission. Thank goodness.

• • •

What criteria do you use to connect with people online? Share them in the comments below.

• • •

Connect with me (or try to) on
and YouTube.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2012 4:43 pm

    You forgot a Facebook criteria.

    “Are all of your statuses vague, melodramatic, depressing soliloqiues attempting to lead me into asking you what’s wrong? Because I won’t.”

    • April 9, 2012 6:12 pm

      Sadly, I enjoy rubbernecking at the occasional Facebook car wreck, so I do have a few people who do the self-involved updates. Someone eventually asks, and then the real fun begins.

  2. April 23, 2012 10:52 am

    Rachel’s comment made me laugh. 🙂 Good points, Wade. I like.

  3. February 21, 2013 7:35 am

    I appreciate the list of questions for Twitter. I have been working hard these last few weeks to try and grow my social media presence. Hopefully, I can add consistency to my variety.

    That “expert” term is one I struggle with as well. I know a lot (and my kids will tell you I think I know it all) but I will probably let others label me the expert in whatever field. 🙂

    As for the rubbernecking – remember that they are often the ones that end up in a wreck themselves, so be careful out there.

    Thanks for sharing.


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