I’m all about the blogosphere and social networking. If there’s anything I can do for my online friends, I gladly do so. As someone who has been communicating with others online for almost ten years, I have an arsenal of friends who I would gladly give the shirt off my virtual back. Some of my newer friends are starting to wear out their welcome, however. Now, I realize you have to have a certain amount of friends online to succeed, but I guess that depends on your definition of friend. If online friend means the same thing as real world friend, we’re pretty much on the same page. If your definition of an online friend is someone to send a constant barrage of social media voting requests, and nothing else, you’re wearing out that welcome in a major way.
Friendship is more than Diggs and Stumbles
I recently wrote up a little rant about party plan parties. In it I said if I’m not on your Christmas card list or someone you communicate with more than once every few years, don’t invite me to your Tupperware party. I feel the same way about Diggs and Stumble requests. If you’re not going to respond to your email, if you’re not going to say hello on Twitter or Skype every now and then just to see how I’m doing (like I do with all my friends) don’t send me your Digg or Stumble request. Especially if I never saw your blog or website before in my life or if you’re in the habit of posting negative things about my blogs on yours.
In the past few months I cut out asking people to Digg or Stumble my work too for this same reason. I know there are people on my list who would gladly do for me as I would do for them. These are the people with whom I communicate daily or weekly – even monthly. Every now and then I’ll ask for a Stumble from them. I rarely if ever ask for favors from people outside this list of close friends because I don’t want to abuse favors from people I don’t even know.
How to be a good online friend
- You visit each other’s blogs and website and comment in a positive way.
- You link to other blogs and websites because you want to turn others on to something new.
- You email your friends once in a while – even when you don’t want something.
- You participate in different forums or social networking sites because you enjoy others’ company not because you want them to do something for you.
- You contact your online friends for reasons other than asking for Diggs or Stumbles.
- If you do ask for Diggs and Stumbles, you offer to do the same in return.
- You Digg and Stumble your friends stuff without even being asked.
How to abuse your online friendships
- You email only to ask others to link to your posts.
- Certain online friends only hear from you when you send a shout on Digg.
- You only Skype with certain friends to ask for a Stumble.
- Your only Tweet when you’re offering up a link to your blog posts.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask…
There’s nothing wrong with asking others for some social media loving now and then. Before you send out a shout, ask yourself if you communicate with these people for other reasons than to ask for votes or links to your work. If so, you’re in danger of abusing your friendships. If not, do ask but please return the favor even when others don’t make that request of you. Show your friends you appreciate their work by voting for them even when they don’t send a request. Treat your online friends the same way you’d treat your real world friends, unselfishly.