More recently I got an “add” request from someone whose LinkedIn introduction said, “LANCE (XXXXX), has indicated you are a Friend.” Not true. I have never met Lance. After looking at Lance’s profile to see if I truly do know him, it was clear why he would like to be my friend… but he is not. He will not be anytime soon. He has managed to conduct anti-networking by misrepresenting himself in an attempt to garner some miniscule benefit from association with me. Who else on his list of contacts constitutes less than an acquaintance? Who has he duped into thinking, “Maybe I met Lance at that conference last month, it would be rude not to add him to my network…” Is this kind of “connection” why LinkedIn exists?
You are collectors! You are hangers-on! You are attempting to create the appearance of substance with a “network” of names. But a working network requires a network that can be worked.
Three other “Invitations” appear in my queue at LinkedIn that seem to be a new form of spam. Each of these requests comes from a “person” with little or no profile information and none have more than 5 connections. One wonders why I am among the first 5 people they contacted? None have any connection to: me; firms for which I have worked; or the fields of marketing or communication in which I have practiced. Do these poor souls know so few people in business? Will no one they have met be in their networks? You can understand my skepticism.
Just for fun (Okay, this may only be fun for the likes of me…), if you have a LinkedIn account, look through your list of connections at the number of “links” people have. How many of those with the “500+” mark do you believe really know all those people? How many would return an email? Or a phone call? My list has a couple.
Now, I am sort of the antithesis of a collector. Rarely do I send a request to “add you to my professional network.” If you ask to add me, the “Accept” button only gets pressed if: we are actually associated personally; we have met recently through work; or if you are a student of alumnus of the UST MBC Program. According to LinkedIn, I was among the first 100,000 people to set up a profile, so my “network” may appear a little thin after five or more years… but it’s real. I will return email and phone calls from anyone on the list… even those I met only once… How can anyone do that with 500-plus names and get any real work done? They can’t.