Worst reason to connect on LinkedIn?

September 3rd, 2010 | by Jason Alba |

I get this regularly.  I think this is poor logic and irresponsible connecting.

Just because we share a group means we should connect?

Please… please give me a better reason.  Tell me how you found my Profile (same group – that’s okay) and then tell me WHY it makes sense to connect.

I’d rather get a canned invitation than this crappy logic.


You aren’t doing this, right?

  1. 12 Responses to “Worst reason to connect on LinkedIn?”

  2. By Ted L Simon on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    You’ve hit a nerve, Jason.

    Just because it’s a digital world and social tools enable more connections, that doesn’t excuse us from using common sense and appropriate etiquette. To use LinkedIn’sauto-message seems to defeat the purpose of establishing or reinforcing meaningful connections.

    I can’t believe it when I get a LinkedIn connect request that uses that robot-like “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Prior to LinkedIn, would someone have sent an email to a prospective contact that short and impersonal? No. And, most of those requests sit in my inbox for that very reason.

    Would a friend send you such an impersonal, mechanical note? Maybe. But I’d like to think that if they really are a friend or business colleague that they could write something that reinforces that relationship and connection.

    It takes so little time to type a sentence that is relevant and serves to build a relationship. It’s sad that so many fail to take those few seconds to “make it real.”


  3. By Jason Alba on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    thx Ted – I think one of the things that bugs me the most is that they have figured out how to customize the invite but they don’t customize it with anything good …

    Oh well… in their defense, I don’t think they are doing it wrong intentionally…

  4. By Ted L Simon on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    Fair point, Jason. I don’t see LI as “evil” at all. Although, that “unintentional impersonality” in their message seems to indicate a lack of understand as to what makes connections and relationships tick. Kind of ironic for a social site, no?

    One could also argue that if people are trying to create MEANINGFUL connections, they shouldn’t be relying on someone else (LinkedIn, Facebook, any site) writing those invitational couple of sentences for them. If someone doesn’t care enough to do that minimal amount of effort to create/build a relationship, why should the recipient care to connect with them (esp. if they are not people we know)?

    All I know is I NEVER have used, or will use, those canned invites. It ain’t me; I want people to connect with the “real me” not a robotic auto-message.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. By Jason Alba on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    good thoughts Ted.

    You bring up an interesting issue though… LinkedIn has made it fairly hard to find the place to customize the invitation. I know of ONE place to do it, but it’s not where I used to go for the first few years… very, very frustrating :s

  6. By Ari Herzog on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    On that note, Ted and Jason, if you customize the invitation message and invite me… I can see your invite in two places but the message only in one.

  7. By Jason Alba on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    @Ari – I don’t understand – can you explain that further?

  8. By Ari Herzog on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    Subsequent to LinkedIn redesigning the inbox earlier this year, invitation messages can only be seen when viewing the inbox’ received messages; such notes can not be seen from the “home” screen.

    Unless they changed it since, that’s how it’s been.

  9. By Will Kintish on Sep 4, 2010 | Reply

    “I’d like to connect with you because my best friend Molly says I should”.
    That is another regular I get.

  10. By Daria Steigman on Sep 4, 2010 | Reply

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets these generic invites. And, no, “I don’t think they’re doing it wrong intentionally” is a valid excuse.

    I’m disinclined to give people a pass, whether it’s ignorance, laziness, or deliberate. (Though I will often, despite their lack of grace, click through to the profile to figure out whether there’s a reason I should take heed.) If you can’t take two minutes to tweak an email, what does that say about you?

  11. By Will Kintish on Sep 5, 2010 | Reply

    If I feel the person has just got it wrong because of ignorance I send , what I hope is, a ‘nice’ “thank you but no thank you” message like this

    Thank you for your kind invitation to your network.

    Please do not be upset but at this moment I am unable to accept as I don’t think we have met. (If I am wrong please forgive me and tell me where and when).
    If we don’t know each other it would be really good to know why you have sent your invitation.
    When you become part of my network I want to be able to help, recommend and introduce all my level 1 contacts to anyone when asked. I know you will appreciate this would be difficult if we haven’t actually met.

    Online or offline, networking is simply building relationships -the 3 key steps being 1. Know 2. Like 3.Trust.

    I do hope you will understand my thinking here. You may think I am silly but this is a protocol I have decided to adopt when using LinkedIn.
    I do feel sure when we do meet we can build a long-lasting business relationship

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    Why not consider joining this group as we plan to send you lots of free information including big discounts on training courses and products.
    We run fee-paying and free web seminars and teleclasses on Linkedin and ‘ordinary’ networking so keep a look out for details.
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  12. By Jason Alba on Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

    Daria, I respect your position on not “giving people a pass” (not sure if that means you’ll connect with them anyway or give them the benefit of the doubt) but I definitely give them the benefit for one simple reason:

    LinkedIn has made it quite hard to invite someone and change the invitation message… which means many people send out the canned message.

    This is a technical/design issue on LinkedIn’s side which makes me wonder if anyone at LinkedIn uses LinkedIn (or, sends invitations… my guess is NOT VERY OFTEN).

    The other reason is that some people are much better networkers than others… some are just newbiews getting started and don’t quite understand networking etiquette yet. I don’t want to disregard them just because they haven’t read the right book, or are too shy to do it right, or don’t know “the right” technique.

    It bugs me, but not enough to assume they are being intentionally ignorant or lazy…

    Some people just weren’t given grace in certain things… (I’m living proof!)

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