Embracing Stranger Danger: My New LinkedIn Philosophy
LinkedIn: How Many Connections Is Too Many?
Lately I’ve been receiving invitations on LinkedIn from people I don’t personally know. Maybe we follow each other on Twitter or we’ve exchanged comments in a group on LinkedIn but I don’t actually know them. Should I accept their invitations or politely decline them?
How Well Should You Know Your LinkedIn Connections?
I can see the benefits of adding connections even if I’ve never met the person face to face. The more connections I add, the larger my network is and the more career and business opportunities I’ll find. Many people believe more is better, creating huge networking and social media circles ala Metcalfe’s Law which states, “…the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system”. I can see where this approach has a more direct benefit with Twitter. Gaining followers expands my audience, amplifies my message and leads to more sales. Can that same approach apply to my career connections?
Does Your Rolodex Define You?
My purpose in using LinkedIn is to build a network of contacts I feel comfortable doing business with and recommending to others. Weak connections rarely lead to more business opportunities. I believe in a quality over quantity approach. Why would I connect to people I’ve never met face to face? What value could they add to my rolodex?
My LinkedIn Philosophy: The “Phone Call Rule”
In the past, I have chosen connections based on what I call the “phone call rule”. If the person is someone I would pick up the phone to call, they belong in my contact list. I ask myself a series of questions, how well do I truly know them? Are they a connection worth having? Would I recommend their services to a colleague? In choosing not to add someone per the phone call rule, am I missing out on a valuable connection and a more global network?
Embracing Stranger Danger
I’ve made the decision to get past my fear of strangers and change my phone call rule. If someone I don’t yet know is willing to talk on the phone, Skype or do a webcam chat via Google+ Hangout with me, what better way is there to strengthen a connection while expanding my network? I am ready to convert a quantity connection into quality connection with a conversation. The big question is, will I need to bribe potential connections with candy?
Are you looking for a quality LinkedIn connection? Are You Ready to Embrace a Stranger? Let’s Have a Conversation:
A few things to keep in mind when using LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn has a limit of 3,000 connections before you cannot invite anybody else which means that once you get to 3,000 connections, people must invite you instead.
- LinkedIn has a rule about not inviting people you don’t know. This rule is posted under the LINKEDIN USER “DOS” and “DON’TS” section of the User Agreement, which states that “As a condition to access LinkedIn, you agree to this User Agreement and to strictly observe the following DOs and DON’Ts: Don’t undertake the following: Invite people you do not know to join your network”