Why I Shouldn't Add You on LinkedIn

JJBaybee
Zohare Haider Regional Head of Digital, Wider South Asia, British Council

Posted on November 6th 2013

Why I Shouldn't Add You on LinkedIn

linkedin best practicesSocial networks are fast becoming confused and confusing for both the users and the masses at large. Why, with all the guidelines, best practices and tips on success with social media are these muddy waters increasing their reach?

LinkedIn, a tool I have been using since my college days, was and more or less still is primarily for establishing and maintaining professional connections.

I have been receiving a number of requests from people on LinkedIn to add them (as do many of us, I am sure). With my current outstanding count of requests at just over 700, I am really concerned about the sheer lack of discipline employed by users sending those requests...without offering an iota of a reason. This reflects poorly on them.

I have attempted to advise my public network to make sure to take moment and write two simple lines on 'Why you should accept my LinkedIn request' when sending it out to people. LinkedIn offers this option to you when sending a request. There's a reason it's there, so use it. 

It's a professional network of people based on trust and referencing, both of which do not just occur at first contact, but rather require some basis. This could be a pre-existing relationship or a new one that has potential to blossom.

You also are showing the recipient of your request some respect - by taking a second to write a reason for why they should add you to their network. Obviously, you wish to be a part of it, so it's only fair you offer a decent reason, is it not?

A colleague of mine once offered harsh criticism to me for placing a note on my public LinkedIn profile regarding what to consider doing when contacting me, which stated: "Take a moment to write a reason for why you wish to connect with me. If you don't I have no reason to accept it, unless it is obvious right off the bat that we know one another in some capacity - either because we worked together or we know one another personally. It is courteous and professional." This colleague has since then not sent a request to me and that's perfectly fine. The note worked, although the message was construed in the wrong way.  

It's all like a giant social paradox - but we need to make the right steps to make sure we get the most out of our social engagements, especially the ones where our reputation is measured.

(Amendment: Further to a comment below, this snippet is an addition)

Here's how you can add a little note the next time you send a request:

  • When you see recommended connections on your right, you simply click on "See more" and it takes you to a page containing the whole list of recommended connections
  • Beneath each contact box, there is a small icon between "Connect" and "Shared Connections"
  • That's the little guy that needs to be clicked
JJBaybee

Zohare Haider

Regional Head of Digital, Wider South Asia, British Council

Zohare is the Regional Head of Digital at British Council. Previously, he was with Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom or Qtel Group), where he was program managing the build-up of a new innovation and advisory unit to support all of Qtel's Big global business throughout Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

A graduate of Bucknell University (USA), Zohare has extensive experience working with global leaders in Telecoms, Venture/Patient Capital and Social Enterprise. His key interests are to build strategic relations and partnerships,  believing strongly in the synergy between digital and offline consumer engagement strategies. He loves to try and demystify digital by making it user-friendly. 

Zohare also played a critical role within the social development community for successfully harnessing the power of digital reach by using his blog to share critical disaster relief information. 

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Comments

Zohare,

You are very correct however, I also think that LinkedIn deserves a large degree of the blame for this. They are agressively suggesting connections and they are also flat removing the option to personalize messages on MANY connection requests. I have not yet figured out their total algorithm for determining this.  If you have any suggestions on how I can make LinkedIn ALWAYS allow me to personalize a connection request, it would be much appreciated as ... this whole issue has been driving me nuts for some time :)

Thanks!

 

Thanks for your note Craig. I agree that LinkedIn has injected its fair share of 'accelerated network growth' hormones into the algorithm by introducing skill and contact recommendations in a more aggressive way.

Yes, there is a way to ensure when you send a request, you add a little note:

  • When you see recommended connections on your right, you simply click on "See more" and it takes you to a page containing the whole list of recommended connections
  • Beneath each contact box, there is a small icon between "Connect" and "Shared Connections"
  • That's the little guy that needs to be clicked

That said, I think I've just gone and proven, in the process of a user journey, how nearly impossible they have made it for those with little or no time to explore these routes. 

Hope it helps. It's getting really tough to cut through the social media fat but we need to keep it all in check by sharing our issues and identifying ways to improve 'quality engagement'. 

In linkedin, you have to appear as professional as possible. It's your name and your company we were talking about. It's not just a mere social media platform where you can upload loads of selfie pictures and spammy posts and that's why it is reasonable enough to limit or at least filter out your connections. It's not on how many people you have connected, it's how many influencers and 'real' people you get to engaged everyday.

I totally agree with Craig.

While I do like the way Linkdin suggests new connections, there is now way to personalise when selecting suggested connections.
I do send requests out hoping the receiver will understand the common elements and also see the number of existing shared connections.

HI Nadeem,

I've added this to the tail of my post as an edit. 

Here's how you can add a little note the next time you send a request:

  • When you see recommended connections on your right, you simply click on "See more" and it takes you to a page containing the whole list of recommended connections
  • Beneath each contact box, there is a small icon between "Connect" and "Shared Connections"
  • That's the little guy that needs to be clicked