I read an interesting and surprising statistic related to LinkedIn this week. Only 17% of professional people have a LinkedIn account. When I dug deeper for the correlating data I was only able to find an article from March 2012 that made a similar reference.
I’ve written somewhat regularly on my feelings on LinkedIn and overall I am still very bullish on the company’s prospects, model and utility for its users.
However I’ve also written that LinkedIn continues to push the boundaries of best practices when it comes to helping its users (not always members since most users do not pay to use LinkedIn but the number is growing).
Recently LinkedIn has afforded people the opportunity to contact total strangers with a message entitled ‘Good to see you on LinkedIn’. I really dislike this approach and hope that the management of LinkedIn pulls this option off the table quickly and entirely. I’ve worked to keep my LinkedIn network limited to people that I know personally and to people that have been referred to or recommended to me by someone I know. I realize not everyone approaches their LinkedIn network in the same manner but I do strongly encourage people to protect their network of valued contacts. The last thing LinkedIn users wish to happen is to have a connection pore over their contacts and contact them (i.e. bother them) with offers that are blasted out indiscriminately. There are those that disagree with me and follow the ‘Open-networking’ approach opening their network up to anyone and everyone. I feel this is a huge risk and you should think twice or three times about it as it opens the entire platform up to being continually spammed.
I made a connection some time ago from my days in university with a person that I have not seen in many years. This person has taken to blasting out messages related to his business (irrelevant to mine) pitching offers and deals. I really dislike using the LinkedIn platform in this manner. I thought about contacting the person but really aside from the time we connected on LinkedIn we’ve not been in touch and I decided it’s not worth the effort. (The saying that there’s a reason we’ve not been in touch for thirty years and it wasn’t because I couldn’t find you, still holds). Removing the person from my LinkedIn contacts is the easier and shorter path.
LinkedIn in my view remains the most useful social network and I spend a fair amount of time every day researching companies, individuals and industries. I’m open to connecting with people as it is great to meet and learn about people’s backgrounds and organizations since the information is all self-reported. But I urge people to think of their own LinkedIn network as being sacred and to above all protect it from those that would not have the same respect for their own LinkedIn connections.
How do you handle your LinkedIn network?
Mark, I feel the same way about linking with strangers. I often get requests from someone I have never met. My typical response back to them is “I can’t recall meeting you. Can you remind me how we know one another?” Very few reply to that and get the point. Also, when random recruiters reach out to me I warn them about farming my list and actually volunteer to give them names instead. LinkedIn is a prefect example of a self policed community. Let’s keep it that way.
Thanks David. I agree that self-policing is the best future for LinkedIn. I am not sure LinkedIn feels the same in the drive for more revenue.