First, second, 45th most – to each, his or her own. We all have our way of using, doing, being social. Online and off. This be mine.
Like a robo-call from telemarketing hell, the LinkedIn Request from a total stranger
While they aren’t always a deal breaker for me, I really truly don’t care for the generic LinkedIn invite. [I know the mobile apps don't let you customize. Made that mistake, am now careful to go to the web for connecting as I'm in the camp that I customize my invites. Always.]
Generic, random LinkedIn requests are cold, impersonal, unprofessional, lazy, annoying.
I’m not so in-demand that I just block and ignore these. I reply. Some variation of a professional and courteous, “Thanks for asking. I prefer to connect with people I’ve worked with or know from online. Could you please tell me where and when we’ve crossed paths? Why you want to network? All the best.”
5 types of LinkedIn Responses I get back:
- Crickets. Seriously, think almost half my invite replies are ignored. Someone just racking up numbers, no desire to truly connect.
- The Offended Troll. More than a few times, I’ve had a poorly capitalized, terribly spelled rambling rant of a reply from someone hella pissed off at the notion that while I am on LinkedIn to network, I don’t treat it as a free for all.
- The Overly-Aggressive Power Networker. They’re scary serious. They want that connection, because they’d be great for you and ‘hey it’s all good.’ And while you’re already taking, follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook, subscribe to their e-crap and buy everything they’ve shared on Pinterest like NOW.
- The Overly-Eager Flirt. Doesn’t happen that often, but I’ve gotten requests from those less interested in business than they are “meeting people” that are attractive and “couldn’t we just text or SnapChat?” My latest really didn’t know when to take NO for an answer.
- A Real Answer. Rare. Sometimes we have bumped into each other on a chat or a blog and I just don’t make the connection. Sometimes they just got a suggestion from someone else or shockingly, even read a post or tweet of mine. If there’s a legit reason to connect, I do. If I’m unsure, I invite them to follow me elsewhere and offer to do the same.
Who do I think I am to have a policy? Why am I networking?!
It’s not a competition, not about the vanity metrics. In the 3.5 years since I first blogged about not connecting with strangers on LinkedIn – and hot damn I. Am. Old. – I’ve seen people throw open the flood gates and I’ve watched people walk away all together.
I’ve also lived and learned. The few times I ignored my better angels and accepted, it’s inevitably opened my email and network to hard sales pitches, requests to buy or subscribe, and/or please ask everyone I’ve ever met to do something. Broadcast blasts. Job begging*. Hey, come out for a drink and why we’re meeting, BUY.
That’s not business. That’s not relationship building or networking. It’s spam. It’s bullshit.
If you’re reading this, odds are you have a similar LinkedIn policy. If not, why not?
*It’s coming. I’m gonna be reaching out to my network soon but when I do, believe me I’ll have something of value to offer you, not just another ‘hey, I need a job’ e-blast.
Photo credit: LOVE the Tumblr for Honest Slogans.