Now, obviously anybody who has been in networking sites long enough would know that it just doesn’t work that way. I, for one, would surely refuse friendship requests from strangers.
Because, after the initial fancy wears off, you will find it absolutely pointless to have a crowd of over 500 friends in your list when there will only be a handful you can turn to in times of trouble. So though we are out there to socialise and network, we are choosy and picky about who we want to know.
“In the ‘About me’ column, she writes ‘Please don’t request friendship from me if you don’t know me’ (this is really common in most girl’s profiles). And one of her testimonials read “You don’t know what you are missing out on, if you aren’t friends with her.” This is too contradictory for a person like me. Yes! I am missing out. I understand the pain of the testimonial writer in imploring me to make ‘fraanship’ with this girl. I’d like to help him. But I can’t do anything about it.”
This is a very common crib by newbies to networking sites and even seems like a valid complaint till you apply the same situation to a coffee shop or a pub or any party for that matter.
True, the people out there are surely out to socialise.
But, will any of them actually appreciate or approve if you walk up to shake hands with them and say: “I want to make ‘fraanship’ with you”?
Worse, they judge you before they even know what your name is.
Because, etiquette requires you to be introduced by someone they know.
We all know that good lookers have it easy in the real world. Some of them don’t even need a pick-up line.
So what’s different in the virtual world online?
For probably the first time, the geeks, the freaks and the nerds too have a fair chance — The kind of guys who would never walk up to a girl in a nightclub and say ‘Hi’ just because they are afraid of the way they look; the kinds who might have a smarter line than the beefy guy out there wearing a tight tee and dances like Travolta; and of course, the funny guys who come up with the most outrageous stories and are great fun to be with.
You need not even put up their photographs, and even if you do want to, Photo editing software can transform even the most ordinary snap to an interesting picture. But then, this is something even the women do.
But putting up real pictures surely helps to let people know you are for real and are not a fictional character someone created as a prank. Statistics show that people with real photographs get more hits than people using pictures of movie stars and sports personalities.
But first, to begin with, you need a profile that’s interesting. Not too brief and not too long. Not too funny, not too serious. Not too loud, not too sober either. But most importantly, it should describe the real you. (Psst: But check with friends first, if the real you is scary, get someone to create it for you.)
Just because there are people out there with interesting profiles does not mean they are all going to be interested to be friends with you. Just like in the real world, it’s easier to network with people you have already been introduced to. Or people who are your friend’s friends. But make sure you don’t send them friendship requests before they actually show some interest in getting to know you. The boys would do well to wait for the girls to send them the request.
And unless you have a very good, original and funny pick-up line worth using, do not attempt an opening line. In fact, there are communities that promptly discuss Orkut’s worst pick-up lines and you surely don’t want to find your way in there.
So if you can’t straight away add friends, how do you network?
The communities are always a safe bet to find people who share your interests. Join an online discussion or start an interesting one. You will have people replying or you can always reply to discussions started by the ones you find interesting. That’s good to get introduced.
Once you’re sure they would remember you, you need an ice-breaker. This is when you can take the liberty of leaving a light-hearted comment in their scrapbook. Do not scrap them back till they reply. People do not like getting spammed. Gauging interest levels, you can decide to scrap back or network with someone else.
Whatever you do, do it with dignity.
Don’t ever beg or request to be friends with anyone.
Also, aggression might not always work. So do not ask people out till you are sure they know you well enough.
Always remember, that just because they are ready to be friends with you does not imply that they have romance in mind.
Take it slow. Relationships are defined over time.
Besides, most friendships outlast most romantic inclinations.