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Do You Invite and Accept Everyone on LinkedIn? Stop That.


Robby

LinkedIn has been around for more than a decade now. Since the beginning, there have been plenty of users who try to connect with just about everybody. This is a terrible idea for a bunch of reasons. Please stop trying to link up with everyone on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn LIONs
© Flickr User www.guigo.eu

Before I get into why you should not try to connect with people you don’t actually know, let me explain what this means. Some people who use the social network LinkedIn will attempt to reach out to individuals that they have not actually met. Or, people that they have only interacted with for a few minutes—not someone that they truly know and trust.

A few individuals are so devoted to this practice that they call themselves “LIONs”–short for LinkedIn Open Networkers.

This is absolutely a bad idea for many reasons. First:

It’s a Violation of the LinkedIn Terms of Service

LinkedIn clearly says in their User Agreement:

This prohibition includes but is not limited to (a) using LinkedIn invitations to send messages to people who don’t know you or who are unlikely to recognize you as a known contact;

Now, I’m not saying that you need to follow all the rules all of the time. If you want to drive five miles over the speed limit, feel free. If you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn that you used to work with but haven’t seen in a year or two, that’s probably okay.

But LinkedIn is the landlord and we are the tenants. Most of us aren’t even paying members. So it seems wise to err on the side of caution. Reach out to too many people that you don’t know, and you can be placed into LinkedIn jail. Seriously.

To Be Interesting, You Must Be Selective

If you’re willing to connect with everyone and their brother and whatever else is in their LinkedIn picture that means you’re not selective. You’re not discerning. And no matter what field you are in from accounting to zoology, you must be able to make decisions about what is best for your employer and for your career.

If Everybody Did It, What Then?

Here’s a good rule of thumb for any behavior: what happens if everyone does what you do? If it’s sending birthday cards or saying “please” and “thank you” that might make the world a better place. But what happens if everyone accepts everyone else on LinkedIn?

If that happened, it wouldn’t be a network. It would just be a directory. And if you want a list of everyone in the world, you can just get a phone book. It’s not all that valuable any more.

You’re Risking Your Reputation

If you accept everyone, that means you probably don’t look too hard at those profiles. So what if you end up connected to someone who is a known scammer? What if you’re linked in to an individual who gets indicted for a federal crime? What if you receive endorsements from a person who is infamous in your community or industry?

So don’t do it. Be selective. Use LinkedIn to represent your real network. And good luck!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Wed, February 5 2014 » Uncategorized

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