LinkedIn Invites Should not be about the Numbers

I used LinkedIn everyday – it is a great tool, but like any tool it sometimes gets abused and we start to develop bad habits around it.

I read an article a few years ago that you should reach out to whoever you want to be associated with, the kinds of people you want to know and meet and send them a connection request on LinkedIn so you can connect with them.

I’d like to update that request with a few ancillary points;

  • If you really want to talk to them, there are many other channels other than LinkedIn to engage with that person, perhaps they have a blog where you can contact them directly or send them a direct message over twitter.
  • Connecting with them and then not doing anything is a complete failure, all you’ve done is essentially thumped your chest that this person is now a connection.
  • The corollary for this is true, if I don’t know you, why I would accept this invite?

Random LinkedIn invites are a great way to connect with people, but that connection needs to come with a message – “Hey Greg, I saw your profile, we’re in the same program would like to chat a little more” vs “So and So wants to connect with you”.

It doesn’t mean anything.

The worse feature of LinkedIn is the new AutoConnect where it’s either a check or an X – there is no prompt to add a personal message.  Worst yet, we have promoted connections, as if the number count of my connections somehow defines me.  Sometimes I forget and I accidentally click the check on my phone, but I’m not connecting with anyone at that point in time, I’m simply upping my stats and theirs.

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What’s more valuable a smaller connected network of people you work with and respect or boasting that you have connected to 500+ people?  There are a lot of people in my LinkedIn profile that I don’t connect with but are there and really they shouldn’t be.

Getting to 500 connections is nothing, you could do it in a day, you want to impress yourself, go find 100 connections that you are going to interact with constantly, on an ongoing basis – now that is something of value.

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