There’s one problem with having a relatively public presence online, even in such a niche that I’m in, and that’s how to deal with unsolicited friend requests. I’m a happy user of LinkedIn, I have a Gamertag you can see on the right hand side there, and I’m also a reluctant and infrequent member of Facebook. As well as letting people who know me connect, it also means that on some occasions, I get friend / contact requests on these systems from people I’ve never heard of before. In the case of a Gamertag in particular, I’ll sit there trying to figure out whether I know the person or not, then agonise about whether I should just reject it (causing potential offense), initiate a ‘Who the hell are you’ discussion which might end up that way anyway, or worse open a dialog with someone I wish I hadn’t, or just accept on systems I don’t care so much about because it’s less hassle. I’ve gravitated towards ‘reject’ as a default response now.
Here’s a tip: if you want to connect with me or anyone else on an online system, at the very least email me to introduce yourself first, or include in your friend request why we might know each other already, or have something in common. I’m fully aware that I ‘know’ far more people than I realise half the time, since I talk to people every day in forums etc via the obscurity of nicks. And if we haven’t spoken before, that might be ok too; I like ‘meeting’ new people, but you really have to talk to me first.
Just firing a friend request at me with no introduction is akin to throwing your business cards at random strangers in the street; it’s just not polite. Going through introductions might seem old fashioned in today’s fast-moving world, but it really does break the ice and makes the difference between a genuine friend request and a ‘stalking request’. 😉