Who is this person that wants to be my friend?
I have never heard of them before…
I don’t know anyone in Pakistan…
Will they be mad if I don’t accept their request?
The parody of making friends on online communities has become a comical debate. If you know them, like them, and trust them than of course you should be friends or join their network. What about the others who may not know so well? Here are a tests to run on these people to determine whether they will make the final cut.
Friends of friends. Introductions from friends definitely speed of the process online as they do in person. In MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook you can see who your friends’ friends are and ask them to join your network. Purely the association of a friend can say this person matches similar interest, hobbies and business activites.
Work in the same industry. You may be able to tell their job by their picture or description that is attached to the profile. If you are looking to grow your network of associated professionals than sure why not add them as friends. Every time you become a friend of someone it is like slapping a business card on their profile. Friends of your friend can see your entire resume, area of expertise, and niche that you serve. The worst that can happen is they say no. Again this is similar to real life situations.
Have similar interests. Think of your favorite things to do. Is is walking in the park, playing golf, or snowboarding in the mountains. People like to share their experiences on their profiles with pictures, videos, or statements that express their opinion on the subject. Add friends that share similar experiences so that you can learn from them as you share what you know.
Send them a private message. If you just sent a generic message that says, “Hi, _____ wants to be your friend on Facebook”, or “Hi, ____ would like you to join their network on LinkedIn”, it has no personal touch and will reduce the likelihood of them adding you to their network. Take a few seconds to introduce yourself or create a templated message that differs from the standard greeting.