While I've reaped a great deal of social capital via online networking, there's one aspect that continues to be the bane of my digital existence ... how to respond to LinkedIn invitations with grace.
LinkedIn is a professional networking service and the site clearly states that you should not accept invitations from people you don't know well. I think, however, that there are possibly missed opportunities and relationships if one takes a hard stance on this, and frankly, I feel sort of guilty for not accepting invitations from everyone. My general stance has been to send a note, explaining that I usually only connect to people I've worked with. I do feel that if I've connected with someone via LinkedIn that it is sort of a tacit endorsement of the other person, and I've generally developed a wariness about this whole conundrum.
Recently, as I was browsing profiles in LinkedIn, my attention was caught by a blurb in Scott Traylor's profile. In the very last section of your profile, there is an editable section called Contact Settings where you can advise others on how to connect to you. I've always left this field blank in my profile, but I was inspired to lift and adapt Scott's blurb as I think it adequately explains my stance on LinkedIn:
I maintain a LinkedIn presence for professional purposes. If I don't know you well, I'd prefer to connect informally via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lucygrayHope this clarifies things a bit. What are your rules and preferences towards this sort of thing?
I saw the following on another person's LinkedIn profile (thank you, Scott Traylor) and thought I'd adapted it for my profile.
In almost all cases, I do not connect with people I do not know or have never met. My rules for connections include any one of the following:
• I know you
• I have worked with you or currently work with you
• I am very familiar with the work that you do
• I am convinced you will do good for all children in this world
If we have never met, but I am very familiar with your work (research, products developed, writings, things you have been involved in creating, movements you have started) I would be interested in your link request.