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Friday, September 28, 2007

LinkedIn, some assembly required

I've generally viewed LinkedIn as a giant online phone book, with the added benefit of allowing me to keep up to date on career changes of folks I might not normally speak with. Thom Singer has a rant up today on his experience with LinkedIn. A user took offense to him refusing to connect, after he received the generic "You're a person I trust; let's link up" LinkedIn email.
Thom has a policy of "no linking unless we've shared a meal or a beer"...the question for him really is, is that the social norm at this point on LinkedIn> Given he's a public speaker, there are going to be a number of people who feel as though they have a connection, and would like to link to him... It's a tough call, since LinkedIn can rapidly turn into a network of people who want to make connections to sell something. Generally, people DO write nice intros, but I often find myself replying that I'll forward something, but it's going through someone I dimly know, and I can't verify it'll get to the end recipient. I've often thought that LinkedIn should allow some granularity with new contacts, for advanced users..something that would allow us to limit the contacts that requests might be forwarded on to.. Eg, if I've linked to person X, because we met at a trade show; maybe I don't want to forward requests through him, because I don't feel there's a connection there.
Thom's got to do what's right for him, weighing whether the occasional antagonized emailer is worth a clean network. I suspect for him it is.

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Blogger Liz said...

Interesting topic. I read Thom's post on the subject as well and I have to say that while my "policy" isn't quite as strict at Thom's I also only like to link to folks that I know. If someone I don't know asks to link to me, I send back a friendly note saying that his/her name sounds familiar but that I cant remember how we know each other. A few times it has turned out that I did know the person but that I couldn't place name and face or maybe she got married and changed her name. If a person responds that we haven't met before I just ignore the invite and move on.

I think that if you link to a bunch of folks you don't know that your network value to your actual contacts decreases. As a practical matter I just don't like to have my LinkedIn address book clogged with folks I won't contact because then it takes more time to scroll through them when I do need to contact someone.

I like your blog by the way.



10:12 AM  

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