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Analog Equivalents for Social Networks

There’s an ongoing joke in my family when it comes to the internet. I won’t let my mom be my friend on Facebook. I’ve connected to everyone else in my generation that’s in my family, but I won’t break the generational gap when friending people. On the flip side, I don’t connect to friends and people I don’t have a professional relationship with on LinkedIn and I won’t accept anything anymore on MySpace.

I have rules about my social networks because I think of their analog equivalents.

Facebook is my address book. There are people in there that I never call, but I have their numbers and contact information just in case. People I went to school with, people I met socially and some of my family. I don’t put my mother or father in my address book because I know their numbers by heart. I used to live in that house. Facebook lets me keep current with the people I don’t speak to every day.

LinkedIn in my Rolodex. I don’t talk about my dogs on LinkedIn, I don’t talk about going to Otto’s Shrunken Head and drinking 4 or 5 of the drinks with the glowsticks, little umbrellas and plastic monkeys on them, and I don’t want the people who I’m connected to on LinkedIn to know about that stuff. I want them to know that I was the technical director of the Women Respond to Palin webcast. I want them to know that I’m looking for work as an audio producer, audio engineer or project manager. I don’t need my former boss seeing the videos I post to 12Seconds.tv or to see my Daily Mugshot. I have a different kind of relationship with them.

MySpace is my VCR. I still have it. I wouldn’t know how to get rid of it, so it sits in the closet with all of the tapes (friends) that I had when I boxed it up. I’m not going to get new tapes, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the ones I have. Besides, no one wants them at this point anyway. Even my Grandma has moved on from having a VCR.

Do you treat your networks differently?