Thom Singer has a rant going about the problems with some people wanting to make a connection to him through LinkedIn when he really doesn’t know them very well. It seems someone got a bit snippy at Singer’s connection rules, and fired off a less-than-professional e-mail to him.
That’s got a lot of people discussing how social networking fits into the networking rules of the workplace. Singer has asked other bloggers to weigh in, and after giving it some consideration, here are some of my thoughts:
1. Would I recommend you for a job? I don’t link to you unless I’ve worked with you in some way or know you personally and feel good about the experience. I don’t want anyone calling me about your work and saying, “What are this person’s strengths?” and I say, “Gee…I dunno.” That makes me look bad, and that’s not what networking is about. It’s supposed to be a win-win for everyone. So, if I don’t connect with you, it’s nothing personal – it’s just that we need more time to get to know one another.
2. Do I think you’re headed in the right direction? If I see someone connecting to a lot of people really fast, throwing invitations out like confetti on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, I hang back. It makes me a bit nervous to see someone collecting connections like they’re Pokeman cards. Those links seem a bit too rushed, and the lack of solid foundation concerns me. It’s sort of like social spamming.
3. Are you doing your homework? If you have no real understanding of what I do and how I do it, then I ignore you. Again, nothing personal, but I’m not into connecting with you if you’re not willing to take the time to get to know me, and help me get to know you. Lazy linkers will always move on to the next person, and that's fine with me.
Finally, I really consider myself a sort of gatekeeper for the other people in my network. They see me as someone they trust, and I don't want to betray that by trust by letting someone in that I really don't know. But, hey, once I get to know you and we connect in an honest way,then welcome to the party, pal.