Posted by: Noni | February 24, 2011

Is LinkedIn Becoming Another Facebook? Let’s Hope Not

What happened to the days when LinkedIn was about connecting with people who you had “genuine” experiences with?  Recently I’ve been plagued with invitations from people who appear to be dragging a net across the ocean floor to see what they can scoop up.

Here’s an invitation I received this morning.

I think not!  I don’t remember ever meeting this guy… and, I don’t speak Spanish (Portuguese? Or whatever language this is)

Lately the majority of connection requests I receive have no validity or purpose. Sometimes I get messages from people I share a group with; to those requests I respond:

“Thanks for reaching out.  Is there some way I can be of service?”

or

“Did you have a specific reason for wanting to connect?

I recently received a request and lengthy letter of introduction from someone who had connected with me on Plaxo, Facebook, and via email.  I guess he had forgotten all the other times he had sent me “bulk” requests.  (When a program accesses your contact database) We had exchanged at least a half-dozen emails over the course of our vague relationship.  I replied to his request by telling him that we were already connected.  When I asked him if there was a purpose in his correspondence he shrugged it off by replying “OK,  no problem.”

Well, with several hundred emails per week, 5 websites and 3 blogs to maintain… not to mention Twitter, Foursquare Facebook and my projects in film and transmedia, teaching and business commitments … It is a problem.  And a waste of time.

LinkedIn is about reputation, respect and integrity.  It’s a professional platform for the business part of our lives.  Referrals, idea sharing, job search, career building… and as extracted directly from the LinkedIn site:

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 80 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

Trusted contacts… not strangers!

Instead of a standard default request, a brief note explaining the purpose of connection is best.  If it’s really important that you join my network, tell me why.  I get requests from insurance sales reps, hospital administrators, yoga instructors… Do they want me to produce a video for them?  Give them advise on social networks, marketing or advertising?  Create a transmedia or QR campaign?  Lead a discussion or moderate a panel at their conference?  Or are they simply looking to generate sales leads?

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool when used correctly.

LinkedIn is not a popularity hub.  It’s a business portal and I use it for precisely that purpose.  I believe in “paying it forward” and have no problem making a referral for a legitimate cause.  On numerous occasions I’ve donated my expertise or services to start-ups or students and I have mentored many young hopefuls over the years.  I belong to an eclectic selection of LinkedIn Groups and enjoy interacting with peers and exchanging ideas.

If you want to become my friend you’re welcome to visit my Facebook page.  http://www.facebook.com/akaNoni

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