You may have settled into a pattern of interacting with others on certain social networks. Have you limited yourself to one or two to monitor, yet established a profile on many others? By establishing even a limited profile on a web site, you have begun to set up the expectations of others. Site owners might change the settings, offer design options, or merge with or set up alliances with other sites. All of those actions are beyond your control to foresee or to change the direction or outcome. The commonality is that as a participant of a site you have committed yourself to a relationship with that site.
The obligations of that commitment extend to site management, strategic partners, viewers of any public profile of you on that site, participants of that web site, and individuals or groups within the site with whom or which you have connected or joined. Your participation is controlled by you, but your participation, extensive or limited, drives the expectation and perception of all the parties about you as an individual.
You will have many requests to join groups, networks, or events, or to connect with individuals or like certain ideas, places, etc. Each of your decisions frames who you are in a public face. If you find an article in a newspaper or magazine and link it to a social network, some individuals will assume that you agree with the contents simply because of that action, even though you may have found the contents only interesting or even distasteful. Without a comment, you leave speculation to the viewer of that link.
Individuals will reach out to you for social, business, pecuniary, or selfish interests. You may not be able fully determine whether the individuals are trustworthy or even individuals with whom you may want to interact. You may have been taught as a child that every question deserves a respectful response. Unfortunately, you should not apply that rule to participation on a social network.
Expectations of Spammers
If you are dogged repeatedly to send money because someone is purportedly stranded in a country or for some cause with which you do not agree and cannot even confirm exists, it is not inappropriate to delete the request and even block that event from coming up again. A spammer does not deserve the respect of your answer. Spammers are attempting to manipulate you in some manner or worse to swindle you.
Expectations of Potential Love Interests
If individuals reach out to you because they want to establish a truly personal connection and you have no interest, it is not necessary to respond unless you want to explore their authenticity. You have no way of knowing whether the individual has less than pure intent and no interest on your part means no response is necessary.
Expectations of Individuals with Whom You Have Connected and Do Not Really Know
It is up to you to establish that you really want to be connected with these individuals initially. Assuming that you have a valid rationale for that connection and want to remain connected, a simple “thanks but no thanks” should suffice if they contact you requesting a response to some event, issue, etc. No explanation is necessary should you choose not to participate, but a simple reply would be appreciated by them and eliminate the time-sap follow-up request.
Expectations of Individuals with Whom You Want to Maintain a Strong Relationship
These individuals become your priority. You should ensure that you respond to them quickly. Move through the request quickly in terms of response which either shuts down the event in a positive fashion or will take it to the next step in the process. Quick responses send a strong message of efficiency and personal attention to them—both result in positive images of you.
It is easy to manage the results of the expectations of others if you are clear in your priorities and determine to stick to those priorities. By providing less information in a profile and just a place-holder on certain social networks it screens some of the follow-up that would result had a more complete profile been presented. Play your social networks and contacts like a fine musical production–sometimes grazioso or adagio or expressive or pastoral, etc.
What is your buzz about?