Last year a friend of mine had some business meetings and came across a chap in the digital space. He was then sent a couple of blanket communications; one about how the small agency was doing (pretty interesting) and another which was an impersonal ‘wecandobiz’ invitation.
Whilst going through business cards recently he came across the contact’s details and, as he kept getting opportunities for contracts to send to that particular area, pinged him a LinkedIn invite – the standard one.
This brought an acceptance – nice - and also a reply stating how impersonal standard LinkedIn invites were, how he ought to read his social marketing expert blog post on the way that LinkedIn makes for rude invites and how he doesn’t normally respond to anonymous requests. Blimey.
This triggered a rather short but polite e-mail reply reminding him which methods of impersonal communication he’d used over the last year, that this wasn’t for bus dev or job-hunting and an assurance that the accepted connection was now removed. The ensuing back-tracking reply implied that yes, maybe his views on LinkedIn conflicted with his marketing activities…
Whilst I agree that it’s much nicer to embellish your request with some context and a nice message, it got me thinking about what my process was for LinkedIn and also how much value we assign to allowing people to connect to us, particularly in the current culture of narcissistic banality (guilty as charged by the way).
So…when I get a request from LinkedIn:
- Do I know them, either by name/company or because they added some text to the standard invite (not often done IMO)?
- I’ll search my e-mail archive which contains pretty much everyone I’ve ever communicated with.
- Quick scan of Twitter, the web, etc, if time allows.
- Do we have connections in common?
- Does their company type / job title match the kind of person I would have met or come across either physically or virtually?
Normally I will accept unless it’s a blindingly obvious connection made in order to bombard me with some kind of recruitment marketing or general drum-beating (I had a stranger who has a global cause – very worthy – who then sent 5 to 10 e-mails per week – easily removed)
This brings me to the point: I’m not that important. Nor are you, probably. In the current climate it’s easy to get the value exchange wrong. I’m not giving them access to my mother’s address via FaceBook (there’s probably a comment there on default security settings..) and all connections can be rescinded/ignored if it gets too much.
So, take a chill pill, stop demanding white roses in your rider and connect – you may need them one day.