Back when Facebook was called thefacebook, and its core audience were college students looking for an online home for pictures of their drunken exploits, social networking was easy: you simply "friended" every single student at your university. Chances were good your virtual friendship would be accepted, regardless of whether that person had ever met you.
But in today's social networking-crazed society, you need to implement some strategy when requesting to add someone to your personal and professional network. In short, you should actually know the 'People You May Know.'
While standing up in my cousin's wedding this past weekend, it occurred to me that a bridal party is a great example of a social network, and lends itself well to the do's and dont's of beefing it up.
So I present to you the aptly titled "Bridal Party Guide to Social Networking," written from a groomsmen's point of view (because I don't have a lot of experience as a bridesmaid.)
If you follow these guidelines as they relate to the people you are in contact with, your network will be bursting at the seams in no time.
You are in his network. Chances are great that you have known him since before the term "social network" was put in use. And even if you haven't known him that long, you're probably connected. If you're standing up and haven't been asked to join him on Facebook, you might be at the wrong wedding.
Take a look around. Most, if not all, of the guys are connected virtually. And if you aren't connected with one or two, go ahead and do that right now. You just spent three separate days with these guys – bachelor party, rehearsal dinner, and wedding — and I'd be willing to bet you got to know them on a higher level. Hell, maybe the groom's friend from high school knows a guy who knows a guy. That's social networking at its finest!
I thought about this for five solid minutes before I came to the following conclusion: it's perfectly acceptable to send her an invite to join your network. The two of you have been "connected" since the wedding planning began. Unless you stepped on her feet during the bridal dance, or whispered inappropriate things to her while you walked her down the aisle, go ahead and reach out. There's enough of a familiarity between the two of you to warrant this as acceptable.
The Other Bridesmaids
This is where it gets dicey.* Other than standing next to them for the pictures, you haven't interacted with them that often. You sat on opposite sides of the aisle at the ceremony, you sat at opposite ends of the limo driving to the reception, and you even sat on opposite sides at the head table. There isn't any actual connecting happening. Essentially, it becomes the equivalent of asking your boss' wife's bridge club teammate to join your network. You met them in passing when you subbed in their league one night, but you have nothing else to work with. They might accept, but they'll more than likely wonder why you're reaching out.
*Unless the entire bridal party went to high school together, or something. If that's the case, the point of my analogy is moot.