I am human. Therefore, I like to have friends. I like to form connections. I like to feel connected.
Social media makes that Sweet Spot of Connected Feelings surrealistically and deceptively easy to trip–or, for my fellow Neuro Nerds, “activate”.
I’m totally congruent with average people in average society thus far. Pretty almost-universal stuff.
What I’m less sure of, however, is whether or not Facebook is the right venue for the first-time establishment of that connection, especially between professional colleagues. You know, people who might not want to see pictures of my cats. Or people whose kids I might not want to see pictures of. Or people from whom there might be personal details, dirty laundry, closeted skeletons, or other fine print that I’d rather keep segregated.
It’s not that I’m an embezzling bamboozling meth head, crack dealer, or a worker of the night. I’m squeaky clean as they come; as in, tape a halo above my head and a “kick me” sign to my back. My rap sheet is alarmingly boring.
But I’m just not all that down with the idea of blurring practice with pleasure, or labor with leisure, ya know? I don’t need to be all up in the personal-spaced business of other doctors, and I sure as hell don’t want them to be all up in mine.
I like my fellow colleagues, but “there’s a time and place” and all that. Wise words, summed up in one equally-wise single-word concept: boundaries, yo. (OK, so that was two words.). LinkedIn is the correct answer to this question.
Because LinkedIn is where the professional portraits are displayed, the legal names used, and the accolades flaunted. LinkedIn is the site of the game of compare, contrast, and “endorse” people you don’t even know for “skills” you’ve never vetted. LinkedIn is the ultimate professional posturing site. On LinkedIn, it’s perfectly customary to attempt to connect with people you don’t even know.
Not so for Facebook. Sure, you’re technically allowed to connect with people you don’t know on Facebook–I.e., there is no alert message that pops up to say, “hey, you don’t know this guy from Adam; we’re not going to let you connect with them that easily. You’ll need to complete a few more steps first.” They probably have the technology to do this, but it wouldn’t make Bottom-Line Sense for them to use it.
Regardless, you can live under a rock (similar to me) and still be aware of all the articles and whatnot that caution against adding or “friending” people you don’t know, on Facebook.
So why do I get so bloody many friend requests on Facebook from chiropractic doctors? Is it an empty hunger to feel less lonely or island-ish in the field? Is it the perception of Facebook as an untapped resource for prospective networking? Is it some unusual desire to build a network of People Like Us, despite the odds ratio skewed far in favor of quantity over quality?
I’m always amused when I get a request from someone who is obviously using that Facebook profile for business purposes; there is a suspicious absence of much by way of personal references, contacts, or traffic. It almost looks like a publicity page except that it is indeed sending out a friend request, and I do indeed have the option of confirming or dismissing it.
What’s interesting is that they do it at all. It’s not like they know me. How do they know they want to be connected with me if they know nothing about me? We had never heard of each other before. We might have absolutely nothing in common except the designation/title after our names, and usually a few mutual friends. I don’t know where they met those mutual friends; it might have been a conference or something, but I most likely met those mutual friends a while back, probably in school. And although I know the friends we share, if I don’t know the person making the request him- or herself, then I’m probably going to ignore or decline the request.
It’s not that I’m being high and mighty. It’s not that I’m being cool, standoffish, and snobby. My only hangup is that I consider Facebook to be a personal site (which it predominantly is), and I don’t care to blend or bend the various roles of different social media platforms apart from their traditional functions and start confusing or overlapping them.
I don’t want people with whom the most intimate relationship that will happen is superficially professional to see pictures of my cats, articles from a personal blog, political or apolitical views, or my family’s other goings on.
I’m also not fresh meat, as many cannibalistic DCs tend to assume. I’m not the next B2B or MLM sales prospect, and I don’t want to be “reached out to” only when the person wants something, as many of these cannibalistic DCs tend to be. I don’t want to post an article on Lyme Disease in support of a loved one who has it, only for the DC to pop up out of nowhere (after having been silent on everything else for months), to pitch me some crap they swear will cure Lyme Disease in a month. Been there, fallen for that, had to apologize profusely, and vowed never to do that again.
So yeah. DCs, please don’t friend colleagues (or at least, this colleague) on Facebook. My personal social media is for people in an inner circle of sorts that you haven’t earned the right to access.
LinkedIn is the answer you’re thinking of; connect with me on there. I’ll readily accept a request on there, so long as you don’t spam me or use me (and I’m finely, sharply tuned to know when I’m being used or when it’s on the horizon).