More Friend Requests and Less Meeting Requests

Ross Simmonds

When talking about Facebook, a question I often get is whether or not you should accept people you aren’t actually friends with. For me, I have no problem accepting a friend request from someone I just met at a conference or at a tweet-up. If you want to be my friend on Facebook, I’ll accept. At the end of the day, people do business with people they like and somewhere in the evolution human-beings, people started to  “like” their friends.

In business, if a colleague, client or associate sends you a friend request on Facebook – embrace it. By adding them as a friend you’re opening yourself up to an opportunity where you’re able to develop a stronger relationship with this person after hours.

Why Add Colleagues to Facebook?

Facebook presents you with a great opportunity to learn about your network on a personal level that you would not be able to have in a more professional and formal setting. Facebook makes it easier for you to remember their birthday, kids names, anniversaries and overall just strike up personal conversations more frequently.

I know some of you are thinking, I don’t want to blend my personal life with my professional life. Well…

YOU DONT HAVE TO! There are tons of ways to use the privacy settings on Facebook to prevent this from happening. (I’ll share some secrets in another post)

Increased Efficiency from Facebook?

I believe that adding colleagues and clients to Facebook can actually lead to an increase in efficiency at work. If you’re working on a project with someone and they just happen to be on Facebook at the same time you are, you’re able to flip them a  message via Facebook chat if you have a question or concern. They’ll be notified and you’ll get a response in real time. From there, if more questions need to be asked both of you are able to work on your to-do list while having a communicating about a

project. As a result, you don’t need to go through your calender and look for a time that works for the two of you to meet. You’ve accomplished exactly what you would accomplish with a meeting request all because you accepted at friend request!

Friend Requests > Meeting Requests

Now, I’m not saying Facebook is a meeting replacement. No, I’m saying Facebook presents an opportunity to cut back on pointless meetings and increase efficiency. Meeting requests need to die a slow and painful death. Typically, a meeting request is only necessary because of a lack of communication within an organization or within a specific team.

Every minute you spend in a meeting is a minute you could have spent doing something meaningful. 37 Signals breaks it down like this:

There’s nothing more toxic to productivity than a meeting.
Here’s a few reasons why:

  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow
  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design)
  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute
  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense
  • They drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in heavy snow
  • They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what they are about
  • They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway

For those times when you absolutely must have a meeting (this should be a rare event), stick to these simple rules:

  • Set a 30 minute timer. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period.
  • Invite as few people as possible.
  • Never have a meeting without a clear agenda.

What do you think? Are you a fan of adding colleagues to Facebook? Why or why not?

Would love to hear what you think!

About Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies to startups to drive results using digital marketing and technology.

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Anonymous

I am absolutely not a fan of adding colleagues to Facebook.  I have people in my personal life who are voyeurs on Facebook, scanning pages and sifting through wall posts, friends lists and photos at will.  Imagine a colleague, or an acquaintance getting access to my Facebook.  I am very strict about privacy.  What I do in my personal life and after hours is my business.  I draw a hard line between my personal and professional life.  I don’t even like distant relatives adding me to Facebook.  Facebook hasn’t been in any way beneficial to how I go about my… Read more »

Ross Simmonds
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Thanks for the comment – But I have to raise the question – Do people really care that much about your personal life or do we make ourselves seem more important than we actually are? I’m leaning towards the latter and don’t feel as if many people who add you as a friend really care as much as many of us think… If you don’t want people to see pictures of your kids, sketchy activities you’re partaking in or what you’ve been up to this weekend; use Facebook privacy settings to block them from seeing it.

Lianne Perry
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Lianne Perry

Hey Ross, great article. I don’t mind combining my personal life and work on Facebook – they’re both part of who I am and how I represent myself. I’m lucky that I have an employer who appreciates the quirky side of my personal endeavors – theatre, writing, comedy, art. I do alot of work on Facebook and Twitter and having it as another forum for communicating with partners and clients gives me the ability to be flexible in those relationships. Its a winner for me! Thanks for sharing your views on the subject. 

Ross Simmonds
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Good for you Lianne! That’s the best way to have it in my opinion. Some people aren’t lucky to have a great employer and if that’s the case  I suggest they get out while they can. Too many people talk about authenticity and don’t live it!

Ivan Jimenez
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Like Mark, I’m not too keen on people “sifting” through my life but as you pointed out, well-defined privacy settings should alleviate that. My real issue with Facebook is the leverage they have over you because of all the vast information they collect. I worry more about Facebook not managing my information in an ethical manner way more than a “friend” going through my stuff. I’ve seen too many breaches and FB’s policy on doing what they want, how they want, whenever they want (i.e., even after you’ve changed your profile) doesn’t make me feel any better. Until I learn… Read more »

Ross Simmonds
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Ivan, thanks for your comments – Great discussion and very interesting perspective from someone not using Facebook. I always wonder what people from the outside looking in think of Facebook so thanks for your comment. Facebook tends to only use your information for advertising and doesn’t actually go hunting through your private messages for details. Overall, Facebook has privacy policies that are in place to stop third party applications and hackers from getting our information. If anything, Facebook is less sketchy than most people think… Sure they have a lot of power over peoples personal information but with that power… Read more »

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