30 Replies to “We’re Not Friends on LinkedIn”

  1. haha this is so true! At first I thought that this will be a rant about how people who haven’t even done business with you send you invitations on LinkedIn because I did. Oops ;)

    It’s true though, people have this ‘need’ to have the most friends/followers. I don’t know why. I rather have 20 friends who give a crap about me and are willing to help me, instead of thousands of friends who won’t even bother interacting with me. 

    That said, on twitter, I still don’t like receiving spammy comments from people who have never interacted with me and want me to buy their books. At least pretend to want to know me! but I won’t go as far as saying that offends me because sometimes there are pretty good deals!

    1.  Well, I think that’s becoming more common, but if you are going to connect with me there, I think the expectation should be set that this isn’t the water cooler.  I believe even LinkedIn sets that expectation. So for a guy like me whose network is built primarily from folks who friend me, and not the other way around, I think that once in a blue moon communication is acceptable.

  2. Oh interesting, Geoff!  I’m not a huge fan of LinkedIn myself and, yes, do tend to find it a boring medium.  And I’ve written about using the LinkedIn email feature because, yes, I do consider it spam.  If I haven’t actually gone to a person’s site and opted in to receive their emails, I don’t consider having “linked in” with someone as giving them permission to email me.  That could be because there are so many who abuse the system and use LinkedIn as their primary online marketing tool (gah!).

    1.  I’m pretty sure someone I know reported me as a spammer because of that.  I was really disappointed by that. But whatever.  There are always detractor.  And yeah, this is the worst social network, IMO. Just really don’t like it.

      1.  I’ve never reported a user for spam (didn’t know that was an option), but I did “unlink” (no easy feat on LI) with someone who was repeatedly using the feature for pimping out her webinars. 

        Agree w/ your assessment.  Every now and again I think “I should be doing more on LinkedIn.”  Then I check it out and say “ummm…no.”

  3. Geoff, I love this post. No, LinkedIn isn’t social and it hasn’t billed itself that way. It bills itself as a professional networking site. And now it has spread into lead generation, etc. I like reading about people’s career successes and am always happy to help others. But my jokes are for friends and family, and even then some are only told when visiting in person.

    1.  LOL, we’re in an odd time with the humor online. It’s good, I think, but sometimes I wonder if we’re going too far.  We can only be ourselves in the end.  Thanks for a great comment.

  4. Used to be, I wasn’t as active on LinkedIn as I was elsewhere on the social graph. Today, it’s about par. (Which is to say, I’m finding myself less and less engaged.) 

    I tried joining a few groups, but most end up being little more than a speed bump in my “inbox zero” efforts. Even the weekly recaps, with their often 5 month old conversations, prove disappointing. But whatchagonnado?

    Costs me nothing to keep it parked out there, preserved like an old, un-used project vehicle I can come back to at some point in the future. 

    1.  LOL, I just post my links there, go in every couple of weeks to accept requests, and that’s that!

      1. Nice. 

        I recently shared a link to a discussion with a number of close friends in the business via the “backchannel.” Blood in the water. Blood in the water. 

  5. Totally agree with your assessment. Two things that drive me batty on LinkedIn:  1.) Avatars of family, pets, etc. – not appropriate for a professional networking site, and 2.) Job postings placed in the discussions area – on the daily/weekly updates, who wants to scroll through a hundred entries of job postings just to find one good discussion nugget?!

  6. LinkedIn is about business – I ought to know. I use the premier business network for everything from client promotions to finding a mortgage broker. What I don’t use it for is to talk about my grandson, how cool living in SoCal can be or what veggies I grew in the garden this summer. ALL social networks have road rules – LinkedIn is no different.

    I do take exception, Geoff, with your comment about it being stale. There are significant conversations going on about business issues in Groups every day. NEW conversations that are relevant.

    Why do I like LinkedIn so much? Because it cuts out the chatter and the flotsam of other networks that I don’t really care about and allows me to do what I came to LinkedIn to do – business.

  7. Absolutely! At a recent conference, someone asked me about my thoughts on LinkedIn and I could feel the room groan collectively when I said that I don’t find it that useful for anything other than an online resume (for myself and others) repository.

    As you said, the groups can be very useful organizationally, or fantastic to find a new job; but outside of those functions, it’s certainly not my favorite place to be social. Well-written, sir!

  8. LinkedIn is going to be downed by their hubris. They love to bash Facebook in their sales pitches and want to be Facebook in terms of interactions, but have slipped on developing their core product and are behind Glass Door on reviews of companies and social integration behind a Branchout (FB app).

    I hate going out there and seeing the same thing people Tweeted that is non-biz related. Their groups have become random sales pitch traps as well. 

    I see LI as a work tool, somewhat social but not really. Pushing it to be more social is like you throwing on a rasta wig and telling us you don’t have a shaved head. 

    1.  I thought the same thing about them 4 years ago.  They have stayed relevant, I will give them that.  I really disliked Reid Hoffman’s TED speech, thought it was a big pitch.

  9. Agree. It’s a business network not a hangout place like the popular social networks where even the most mundane facts of life find their way. So if people are on LinkedIn, they should talk and expect serious business conversations and offers.

  10. I am on a lot of networks. LinkedIn for me has been mainly for business. If I want to play I go elsewhere. I am an open-networker and LION and accept all requests. I get to know who they are as time permits and sometimes I immediately find someone I can do business with. At other times I recall a contact/friend who can help me or someone I know. I really don’t expect LinkedIn to be a Keg party; more of a Social Gathering of mature, yet diverse personaities in business. I believe there is room for this type of networking too. However I do believe it is the membership that gives any network its personality. I am a member of many groups that are closely related to my business and my advocacies. And there are friends on LinkedIn I have never done business with but have become friends and if someone asks for a recommendation for the business they are expert or someone asks about a recommendation in the business I am in…we certainly send that person to our friend, we now know and trust. I like LinkedIn for being LinkedIn but I am not comparing it with other networks. They all have a feel to them and all serve a purpose. In my humble opinion.

  11. Agreed. BTW, some of the groups are nothing more than recruiters trolling for new groupies. It’s a place to park a CV and ruffle your professional feathers. Most of the serious industry related information rarely comes from LinkedIn.

  12. I don’t want LI to be like other networks, I prefer it to be more all biz. But what’s happened is that it’s being gamed like so many others, pre-programmed w/ the same stuff  – it’s ended it’s tweeting (though of course, still ways to cross-post). And groups just seem like places people self-promote their own posts. (Clearly, I need better groups). Making it less boring, whole other challenge.

    At the same time though, I’m not sure how I’d react to blanket email pitch. Even though I’m fairly selective w/ my network, it’d depend on how I knew that person on whether or not I’d consider it spam. IDK think everyone will have their own take on what’s connecting vs. what’s spamming.

    Think it’s context; if it’s personalized, custom to our connection “hey, we know each other via Twitter, blogs yada yada this seems like you” – I wouldn’t object. But a generic, ‘hey 40 people I know, along w/ 300 more I’ve never met – looky at this new thing I’m selling,” that would bug me. I’d not report it as spam or say anything; but if that person did so on a regular basis w/out a stronger opt-in from me, I’d probably unLink. FWIW.

  13. I’m totally all for LinkedIn being all about business. But what passes for “business” too frequently is as bad as cat videos. 

    I’m talking about people whose idea of business is to pitch me something. “Are you interested in tripling your lead stream in a week?” “What if you could earn major income working from home just hours per week?” Variations on the theme include Quora-like phony questions that are a setup for a pitch. 

    This is for all intents and purposes no different from male enhancement product selling. It’s hucksterism, pure and simple, and it’s what I find is at risk of crowding out the good stuff. 

    The best of LinkedIn – and there’s a lot – continues to be honest discussions about real business issues, and I agree, that’s a great reason for LinkedIn networks. 

  14. For me LinkedIn is definitely a professional network but I try only include those who are true contacts. In other words, if another friend on LinkedIn or another network asks me to help them connect with one of my LinkedIn contact then I should be comfortable making that call or email to that contact. If, however, my contact list is filled with people that I hardly know then the entire idea of 2nd and 3rd connection in LinkedIn is invalid. At least that is my viewpoint!!

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