More and more people are feeling slutty when linking to strangers on LinkedIn and Facebook. As they mature in their use of social media they are realizing that links without the love, while fun, can just leave everyone with little to show for their connections.
Additionally, social media does not scale to the whole world. Eventually if you have too many contacts it just becomes noise. The people who you do know, like and trust become lost in a sea of status updates from random people who are rambling about things that do not matter.
At the "Social Media Day Tech Karaoke" event the I joined a conversation with two highly known and respected members of the community. They were talking about my "Coffee / Meal / Beer Rule" for accepting connections on Facebook and LinkedIn (I only link to people in those two social media communities with whom I have had a real conversation. There are exceptions, as there are other ways to get to know someone, but I do not link upon the first meeting). One of them had gotten so many strangers into his social media world that he was finding it necessary to "cut back". He was dumping the strangers.
Interestingly, that same person had sent me a LinkedIn request the night we met over a year ago. I never accepted it. However, over the 12 months I have seen him in person and online several times and I have grown to know and respect him. Thus, I was ready to accept the link. Meanwhile, he is dropping all the others who he did not develop a mutual understanding over the past two years. He agreed that while he did not originally see the power of a social media linking policy, he is now creating one of his own that will be similar to the "Coffee / Meal / Beer Rule".
When social media was new many users were horny to use it to connect to anyone. While there are some who will forever argue in favor of their orgy of useless contacts, all they are creating is a Phone Book. Sure you have names and contact information, but so what? You would not pick up a Phone Book and randomly begin dialing people to talk and calling them your "Friends", why is a link to a stranger any different?
Contrary to what some believe social media was never about numbers, it has always been about relationships. While the tools we use to communicate have changed, how we are wired as human beings and relate to others is not different. We long for connection, but it must be based on real emotions, not bits, bites and links.
Get past the lust to link to as anyone and everyone. Nothing beats a relationship. Keep it real.
Have A Great Day.