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7Jan
2007
Guy Kawasaki On LinkedIn

I signed up with LinkedIn a long time ago, and tend to not pay much attention to it until I receive an invite, which inevitably gets me to browse link trees finding other contacts I may know. Thus far, my only business use for LinkedIn has been routing requests from individuals who want to contact others at Adobe (and Macromedia previously). I have tried to use LinkedIn to find contacts that I needed, but thus far those attempts were rather unsuccessful.

What I have not really figured out is who to accept link requests from. I have dozens of link requests from people I have never heard of, and many more from names that are familiar but whom I really don't know well enough to recommend, route requests to, or anything else. So, do I add these as links? My gut feel is not, but I don't decline them either (I did once, way back when, and apparently really insulted someone), so they just sit there as pending invites which is neither here nor there.

Either way, this recent post by Guy Kawasaki (and the comments posted) has prompted me to take another look at LinkedIn.

Comments (9)



  • JesterXL

    Bleh, he didn't answer what you should do about connections. I have the same problem as you; too many un-answered LinkedIn requests. Businessweek had a good article about LinkedIn, but didn't really take a stand either. The recruiters, naturally, accept everyone (although, most are sending requests vs. getting them). The creators actually frown upon accepting invivtations from those you wouldn't personally recommend, or at least have something positive & familiar to say about.

    The amount of time it takes to write a recommendation is also what drives this "acception scrutiny"; since I don't have time to write recomendations about all the people I know, I instead scrutinize who I invite into my network. I understand Guy's points about visibility, but... you're never sorry for something you didn't say. Therefore, it's better to ignore a request from someone your not familiar with vs. accepting them, then later wondering why, and removing them. No answer seems the less evil compared to acceptance, than later reversal rejection.

    #1Posted by JesterXL | Jan 7, 2007, 12:24 PM
  • Phillip Kerman

    Guy Kawasaki is great... I love is talks and books. However, he's great a pushing things that he has an interest in too... I'm not saying that's always bad and I'm not saying this is the case with LinkedIn. But... for example, after a presentation I saw he was pushing (for PowerPoint users) this site where you can buy clip-photos that he just happened to be a board member of. The thing is, if you're doing a presentation, you can grab stuff off the internet and just put a reference and you're fine--you can even reprint images in books according to my publisher (as long as you give an url and the url is public). Okay, I'm drifting here.

    As far as LinkedIn... I think your experience matches mine nearly identically... I accept those people that I know (never received one I didn't know)... I snoop around at who they have in their network... I have never invited anyone... I did write one sincere recommendation that did nothing except make me wonder if that person was planning to switch jobs. The only way I judge people via LinkedIn is to think those who have a TON of contacts are like the "soches" in high school. I don't look down on such people, but I just think they're REALLY into it.

    I do fear that some people use LinkedIn to avoid the inevitable--making personal contacts (even "personal" via email or the phone) in order to get jobs. "People Hire People" so I suppose if it gets you closer to actually interacting with a person then it's fine. For me, it's mainly an anonymous experience.

    #2Posted by Phillip Kerman | Jan 7, 2007, 01:02 PM
  • rd

    I'm personally sick of the recruiters making blind invite requests to everyone I add as links. Personally, I think you should resist the temptation to add everyone under the sun. While it does make it easier to link with other people (more in your network) I think it also waters down the usefulness of your network.

    #3Posted by rd | Jan 7, 2007, 03:30 PM
  • Rich

    Agreed... Linked in is a "relationship MLM"....its very tough connecting to anyone, because noone wants to give access.... also, most likely if you try to connect to someone, you need to go through Ron Bates (most linked guy on LinkedIn.) I stopped using them a long time ago, and switched over to http://www.fastpitchonline.com.

    #4Posted by Rich | Jan 7, 2007, 08:10 PM
  • John Wilker

    I refuse any invite/connection/etc from anyone I don't know. Drives me batty when some one I never met asks for a connection.

    I added a custom messsage to my, "who should connect" part.

    "If I don't know you, or never worked with you, don't attempt to connect to me, or ask for a connection. I can't in good faith recommend someone I never met or worked with. Just because we worked at the same company does not mean I know you or can say good things about you."

    My requests have dropped a little. Mostly I just ignore requests now from people I can't honestly say I would recommend.

    Linked in is (to me) teetering on the edge of useful or lame. People are using it like college kids use facebook, and 12 year olds use myspace.

  • Jared Rypka-Hauer

    I agree with the other posters... I reject any requests from people I don't know personally. I mean, that's the essence of the system and without it the whole idea falls apart.

    The idea, really, is that people you know are in your immediate group, so the people they know are sort of "pre-vetted" to one degree or another, because the assumption is that they know them personally as well. If you have people in your group that you trust, and others do as well, it can work as the opposite of a "Do Not Hire" list and give you access to people you wouldn't have access to otherwise.

    That said, it's obvious that "nothing's perfect" applies to this most of all. ;)

    J

  • charlie arehart

    It's really amazing to see this discussion, for as some of you here know I've just joined LinkedIn myself and have started reaching out to connect to those I know who I see already on it (and by reviewing their connections, and so on).

    Like Ben, I've received a lot of invitations (before I joined) and requests for connection (since I've joined) from folks I haven't always recognized. I don't respond to those I don't know. I may go back and review them and send an email asking for more info.

    One thing I'll share that could also explain this is that there is a feature, which I just used today for the first time, which can have it look at your Outlook contacts and identify which folks are already in LinkedIn to send them connect requests (or send invites to those in your contacts who are not found on LinkedIn). Some folks may use THAT mechanism and then send a blast email to all on that list. I didn't do that. Rather, I looked at each person that it found and I decided if they're someone who I know.

    I suppose an interesting challenge with all this is that we don't know for sure whether who else is being so careful. To a degree, it may not matter. It does seem that the goal is to widen your network, for whatever benefits. Like Ben, I've printed out the Kawasaki article to read and see what I may be missing. I'll re-evaluate LinkedIn after a few months. For now, I'm just expanding my network. If we know each other, feel free to connect. :-)

    Hey Ben, how about toning down that crazy Captcha. :-) It took me a couple tries to get it right. See my blog entries on how easy that is to do (in the Lyla captcha underlying BlogCFC) at http://carehart.org/blog/client/index.cfm/captchas....

  • Cam Penner

    I work in an industry where the same group of people moves around between event occuring around the world. You work closely with people for a couple of years, then everyone scatters around the globe to new places. Then, when you start looking for work, you have to try to figure out where in the world you have "connections" to get back in. I'm hoping Linked-In will help with that. More of a keeping track of people tool than an introduction service.

    Personally, I only link people I know and/or have worked with and don't mind the world knowing I'm associated with. One might say that the list of people you link to says almost as much about you as who you are.

    We'll see.

    #8Posted by Cam Penner | Jan 11, 2007, 02:17 AM
  • jason bates

    iv been using lined in for the past year, i have to say its fantastic, i get alot of people wanting to know about my experience with Greenlush.com and i also think its great for contacting people in the similar industry to Mayne.