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Bill Bennett


Those unknown Linkedin requests

There are 20 unanswered invitations in my Linkedin queue.

That’s 20 people I have never met who want to add me to their list of contacts. Some just seem to be collecting contacts like some people collect stamps or pieces of string.

I’m not planning to respond to most of them, certainly not all of them. If that makes me look mean-spirited, then too bad.

Linkedin is useful when it is a contact book. It makes sense to store details of people I’ve worked with in the past. As I’m a journalist I have connections to key industry contacts mainly in New Zealand and Australia. And there are some old friends in there.

It doesn’t make sense to fill my Linkedin contact book at random. There’s no prize for having the most contacts. Nor is there any value. In fact, filling my Linkedin account with spam entries makes it harder to sort the wheat from the chaff when I need to find someone in a hurry.

Sometimes I suspect I’m invited to connect because someone dumped the contents of their email into Linkedin. Those requests are often just the stock message.

The problem is when someone I don’t know wants to connect for a good reason. In the last six months I’ve had two new freelance gigs from unknown contacts through Linkedin. For that reason alone, a simple “I won’t connect unless I know you” rule isn’t good enough.

Most of the time I make a judgement call. At the risk of sounding bigoted, if someone from a third world country who I’ve never met and has no obvious business in New Zealand contacts me, I reject them. Likewise people I don’t know who have job titles like ‘social media guru’ get rejected. I’m sorry if that’s you.

If the request message has something other than the stock message, I’m inclined to look more kindly on the request. And if I have any doubt, I flick back an email asking the requester why they picked me. About half never reply – which tells you what kind of contact they will turn out to be.

Are there other strategies for dealing with Linkedin requests?




6 thoughts on “Those unknown Linkedin requests

  1. I fear that LinkedIn is fast becomeing a facebook for grown ups. I have accepted a few requests thinking that something was going to come of it. Nothing, ziich. Not a word from any of them. So from now on it’s the delet button.

    1. Agree. I wonder about the etiquette of deleting people on Linkedin. If they are completely random types from another continent I can’t see a problem. What if they are potential business contacts you just haven’t met yet? And, if you do delete people, can you add them again later?

      1. I can’t see a problem either. I don’t mind people tryingto enloare thei circle of contacts. But just joining me then never starting any kind of discourse seems pointless.

        But what is eally annoying me is that I joined up over the lst couple of years with closed groups that were specific to my industry (Film & TV production). I was always approved by the owner of the group. Fine. Very interesting places. I have emparted and gained information. Then suddenly, the owners of the groups have switched them to open groups. Within weeks, they have become swamped with adverts from these fake job sites, career advice, Cv doctors and all maner of sanke-oil salesmen and carpet baggers. Because f that I can’t be bothered with LinkedIn very much.

  2. I can’t say I have had any unwanted connects in LinkedIn yet, but I barely show up on the radar, I think. Still young, still unknown.

    My policy on Google+ where I am far more participating and known I get a lot of requests. My policy is a) do they have an avatar? and b) what posts have they shared publicly? lastly c) do I recognise their name from a recent conversation I’ve had?

    New people get put into a trial Circle where they can graduate if they bring value to my group or get deleted if they don’t.

    I do get a few people looking at my profile on LinkedIn. Mostly Aussie web companies.

  3. I think there has been an increase in over cooked profiles. Linkedin keeps trying to trigger extra clicks whenever I login to look at something and mostly I just ignore.

    The most unusual contact request came from someone who mentioned an actual project but never followed up and I can only assume they were gaming the system to get more contacts.

    When something looks to good to be true it usually is and except that this person worked for a well known company I was tempted to ignore it. On the chance that it might be a real opportunity I accepted the invite and never heard back.

    Have now removed that person from my list of contacts. They don’t get notified & stay listed in my system as a contact that I have dealt with so will see how that goes.


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