July 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm #179526
Every day I get about 5 LinkedIn invitation requests from people I don’t really know (meaning I haven’t talked to them on phone or met in person) and every time I wonder:
Should I Accept this request?
What’s your LinkedIn strategy? Do you accept random requests?
Harvard Business Review recently did a great article on this LinkedIn topic and said: The favor test is simple: Would you do a favor for this person, or ask a favor of them? If so, make the connection. If not, take a pass.
July 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm #179548
So I agree with this in principal but I think for people who are heavy on the digital side and possibly in community management it’s different. In the digital world where you are forward facing a lot of people feel they know you and to a certain extent do, so they might reach out and not accepting could be harmful to you brand.
July 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm #179546
Personally, I don’t understand all of this “social media” stuff. I don’t know what “friending” is, and have looked at Facebook maybe 8 times in my entire life. I am “on” LinkedIn, but my profile probably has less information on it than if I was a sworn enemy of the state in a sleeper cell. I get LinkedIn requests, and if they’re from people I know and either don’t want to offend, or else don’t know how to reach electronically (or by any other means, for that matter – what the hell ever happened to phone books?), I accept them. If I don’t know the person and think maybe it was a whimsical request on their part that they’ll soon forget they made, I ignore it…but still worry I’ve offended someone. If there was a way for me to send them a simple e-mail to say “Sorry, but I don’t make use of this information”, I’d use it.
I get endorsements from people, for things I don’t consider myself particularly well-informed about, but I don’t know what that means or even if those things register unless I do something with the profile. I don’t now if anyone other than myself would ever see them, and I don’t really look at my page..or whatever you call it. I’d endorse them back…if I knew how, since I gather it was a compliment, and I appreciate that and would gladly reciprocate…but I don’t know how. Basically, I am your grandfather wishing the VCR would stop flashing 12:00 because it distracts from watching my recorded Murder She Wrote shows. My older son has directed me to a humorous site entitled “what the **** is my social media strategy?” that supplies impromptu fabricated bafflegab responses to the question. Maybe I need one of those. Do I have a “brand”? Probably not, so there is nothing to align.
Edmonton-based radio satire ensemble The Irrelevant Show recently had a wonderful sketch about LinkedIn, that depicted it as an on-line community for people who don’t know what LinkedIn is to get together: http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/irrelshowsketches_20130620_43909.mp3
One wonders if the decision to accept an invitation should also be framed from the perspective of “Do I want this person to be exposed to potential phishing, should someone exploit my page?”. But then, like I say, I just don’t understand this stuff. I like phones with curly cords, talking to people, and actual paper books with spines. And why is it still 12:00? I thought time moves faster when you get older?
July 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm #179544
David B. GrinbergParticipant
Great question, Steve. I’m sure you must have several thousand connections.
I have built my network to over 1,000 first-degree connections. I try to be selective in accepting invites.
I think you have to strike the appropriate balance between quality and quantity — which is based on a personal subjective analysis. However, the best solution in my view is to have both quality and quantity to the extent possible. This is what I strive for in building my network to the max. Some do’s and don’ts
- If I don’t know the requester, but their profile interests me, I will first send a message asking how we know each other and if our paths have crossed. I may accept depending on the answer.
- I usually don’t accept invites from interns, staff assistants or other low-level professionals, especially outside of my agency — unless we know each other, etc. (sorry if that makes me a LinkedIn snob).
- I usually don’t accept invites from folks with a minimal number of connections and boring profiles unrelated to my interests.
- I usually do accept invites from fellow group members on LinkedIn and other sites.
- I usually do accept invites from folks who read and comment on my blog or other posts.
- Another good rule of thumb is: if in doubt, leave the requester out — ie. don’t accept, at least not yet. You can archive the invite and always connect later if you change your mind.
- You can find me here if you want to attempt connecting. Thanks.
July 24, 2013 at 11:18 am #179542
Guess a whole lot on what YOUR use for Linkedin is…
If you want to stay current with your chosen field of endeavor would suggest the more “connections” the better, I use it similiar to Google Plus which involves joining as many as practical “groups” and accepting any and all requests for connections..
If you are looking for a new posistion would suggest limiting to those whom you believe could assist you in your search…
July 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm #179540
Erik G EitelMember
I tend to accept just about everyone’s LinkedIn request. With that being said… I am quick to remove you as a connection if I end up receiving a bunch of self promoting emails from you. My philosophy is that while I may not know someone personally… LinkedIn can serve as a starting point to build relationships for further communication and connection down the road.
July 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm #179538
Brandi R. BernalParticipant
I believe Linkedin should be more than a medium to connect with people I would do favors for. Afterall, if I would do a favor for you, we are probably connected via several other platforms such as work, e-mail, and phone. If I use Linkedin ONLY to connect with people whom I “favor” than for goodness sakes, what’s the point? That’s like having 6 contact numbers for the same person. I look to Linkedin to connect with people I want to learn more about or strive to be someday. Linkedin allows me to connect with people on a professional level to share ideas and learn new ones. I would never friend the director of my agency on Facebook, but I have connected with him on Linkedin. Not only do I believe that’s appropriate, I’m grateful there is a place other than the hallways of my building where executives who would normally not know my name, get to know a little bit more about what I bring to the workplace and how our professional lives intersect.
July 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm #179536
Hi Gabe Gabielsen here – This is and Excellent Question
Let me throw in my 2 cents on this subject. The short is it depends. I am a local government consultant. I work with cities, counties, townships, boroughs, villages, parishes and school boards all over the country. My specialties are Economic Development, Facility Construction and Organizational Effectiveness. In addition, I am professional associations and trade organizations often invite me to present workshops and seminars at their annual conventions and conferences.
When I receive an unsolicited invitation to Link I immediately scan the person’s or organization’s bio. If the invitation is from a person or company that sells phone services, investments, real estate, cars, insurance etc. I ignore the invitation – because has nothing to do with my targeted Linked In profile.
If on the other hand it is from someone in a local government unit or a professional association I immediately accept the invitation they sent and them I sent them a short message informing them I accepted their invitation and ask them “Why did you want to link with me”. 99% of the time they’ll come back saying a colleague forwarded them one of my articles, told them about a program they heard me present or shared with them a copy of my book. Sometimes these unsolicited invitations come from individuals who are looking for potential resources to contact with problems in their organization.
You need to know I rely heavily on all my linked in contacts for information. I have tagged all my links by specific categories: i.e. Mayors, City Council Members, School Boards, County Boards etc. Sometimes I think it is better not actually knowing my Linked In Contact when the information comes in. For example I recently sent a request to all my Linked In “Mayors” and asked if they could forward me a digital photo of their City’s Welcome Sign for a presentation I was preparing for an Economic Development program I was scheduled to present. It was amazing how many Mayors responded that their cities did not have a Special Welcome Sign – they just relied on the green information sign the state required.
Because Mayors did not know me personally they expressed their sincere embarrassment in their reply. They went on about how difficult it was to get their city councils to work effectively together – and just agreeing on a sign formant or a dollar amount to spend for a Welcome Sign was typical of what they have to deal with.
Not only do I have an extensive list of local government “links” but I purge my a;; contacts at least once a year – by sending out a short email message asking … “Its been some time since we last had contact are you still in you local government position? Many times they will tell me they decided not to run or that they lost their last election — however many want to know if they can still be a link with me as they enjoy the articles and information I have sent out in the past.
I can tell you for a fact that I have met many wonderful people and gathered extremely valuable information and advice from the individuals who have sent me unsolicited Linked In invitations.
Hope this was of value.
July 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm #179534
John W. SoneParticipant
I find the “favor rule” a bit self-serving. Connections should be people you are acquainted with. If you haven’t been introduced and you haven’t exchanged any communication with a prospective connection, you’re better off as a second degree acquaintance. Distant associates might first introduce themselves to you prior to inviting you to connect with them. People who have not interacted with you and are not memorable, do not yet have a connection with you and should not think less of you for not accepting an invitation. (Of course this doesn’t apply to community managers.) I will gladly discard my brand in favor of a more authentic identify.
July 26, 2013 at 4:56 am #179532
Not sure I agree with your philosophy 100% but I am with you 100% with “the favor rule being a bit self serving”.
July 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm #179530
John W. SoneParticipant
Thanks, Gabe. I sense in your article the potential of GovLoop and LinkedIn to foster communities of practice (offering more than moderated dialogue); that would be a major improvement from the mutual cross-branding that they represent right now.
Let’s practice random acts of collegiality today.
July 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm #179528
I always accept connection requests. Whenever someone searches for someone on LinkedIn, matches are limited to 1st/2nd/3rd level connections plus group members. I want as many people finding me as possible. However, if one of my connections turns out to be an inveterate spammer, I’ll remove it. I’ve done that maybe a dozen times.
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