The Bitch Slap: Stop Being a Jackass With Your LinkedIn Requests

how to use LinkedIn etiquetteYou need to learn how to use LinkedIn if you’re going to use it.

Every week, my “Invitations” inbox is jam packed with invitations to connect. Lovely. People like me. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

But would you kindly explain to me who the fuck you are and why you’re jamming up not just one, but TWO of my inboxes with your requests? By the time I get that little notification in my real inbox that you’d “like to add me to your professional network on LinkedIn,” I now have two messages to delete instead of one.

And frankly, you’re wearing me out.

So today, you’re getting a Bitch Slap about how to use LinkedIn and do something as simple as asking someone to join your network. And for all that is holy, it’s time for you to stop being a jackass and wasting everyone else’s time — and your own.

Stop Being Lazy

First, LinkedIn makes it way too easy for us to just click a button and “add people to our professional networks” — but that’s no excuse for you to act like an ass monkey about it and abuse the capability.

When you make the bold move to connect with someone, ditch the lame and lazy default LinkedIn message that’s sent with your request. All that tells someone is you couldn’t be bothered with explaining to them how you know them and why they should consider your request to connect. And let’s be honest: you don’t know 75% of the people sending these generic LinkedIn requests to your inbox, do you?

So quit sending them to mine!

If you can’t be bothered to explain to me HOW I know you, I can’t be bothered to respond to your request to connect. Your lame ass, generic LinkedIn request to connect holds just as much meaning as inviting me to your drum circle (I hate drum circles), an invitation to wash your car on Saturday (I don’t even wash my own car), or an invitation to run through a field of bees wearing a blanket of flowers with stamens and pistils heaving with pollen.

They’re all filed under Shit That Isn’t Going to Happen.

And if you think it’s hard, it’s NOT. Yesterday, I guest lectured at The Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston. It’s one of the top entrepreneurship programs in the nation. EVERY LinkedIn request I received from those students explained to me:

  • Who they are
  • That they saw me speak at U of H.
  • How I might remember talking to them, whether they’d be having office hours with me when I return today, or something they remembered from my talks.

Their average age was in their early 20s. What’s your excuse?

Truth be told, I don’t want to ever “join someone’s professional network on LinkedIn”. I don’t give a shit about your professional network and I don’t delude myself into thinking you give two frog’s fine ass hairs about mine. So if you’re going to ask, you’d better make it good.

On that note, some requests always come from people you’ve known forever — professionally — and they really need no introduction. The funny thing is that those requests are actually some of the most well-crafted requests I ever receive.

Some examples:

“I’d like to add you to my armada so I can one day sink your battleship. Figuratively speaking, of course. I think. Do you own a battleship?”

“Why the fuck aren’t we already connected on LinkedIn? I’ve eaten dinner at your house.”

“Erika, the time has come in our 3-year relationship to ask: will you be my LinkedIn connection? To pimp and promote, to whore article links and share job postings, till severance package (or other exit strategy) we part?”

What Do You Want From Me?

If you don’t know someone and you’re going to be ballsy enough to weasel your way into their professional world, sack up and explain what you want from them. And remember  — we’re not interested in “joining your professional network”.

When you send a request to connect, tell the person what they can hope to get out of making that connection.

And yes — it’s IS a game of What’s In It for Me. You’re coming into two of my inboxes and asking me for my time. While you might think it’s a small ask, asking for me to let you inside the world of people I consider to be colleagues is not a small ask. Some people don’t treat their networks that way, but many do.

Explain what you want and what’s in this proposed digital relationship for the person on the other side of your ask.

For. Fuck’s. Sake.

Whoa There, Nelly! Ease Up With the Asks!

I consider it an incredible gift to be able to travel and speak as part of my living. Through those activities, I meet a ton of amazing people all over the world.

But seeing someone speak at a conference — or hearing them on a webinar, podcast, or reading an article they wrote — doesn’t mean you can use their LinkedIn inbox as a workaround to compensating them for what they do for a living.

Here’s a list of shit that can stop on LinkedIn, and pronto:

  • The Novellas: Stop dumping into the inbox of someone you don’t know with your life’s history, timeline of your amazing business idea, or plea for help.
  • The General Vomit: Stop it with the vague asks on oh-so-general business subjects.
  • The Uber Ask: Unless you have explicit permission, stop it with the “I’m going to use LinkedIn to avoid paying for a consulting session” routine. I can’t explain how much free advice I’m asked to offer. And unless I’ve offered to give it to you (like I did with the students at U of H yesterday who couldn’t get a session during my office hours today on account of my slots being booked full), dumping your scenario into someone’s inbox with the hopes of “picking their brain” is rude. Just. Plain. Rude. Ask for permission. And if someone is valuable enough to have in your “professional network”, why don’t you respect them enough to compensate them for their expertise and insight?

Everyone in your LinkedIn network gets up and goes to work in the morning to do work for which they are paid. Even nonprofits pay their employees. LinkedIn messages and connection requests aren’t workarounds designed to help you avoid paying someone for at least an hour of their time. And whatever that hour of time costs — isn’t your career, happiness, and reputation worth it?

So Stop It

And I get it — not everyone takes their LinkedIn account as seriously as I do. I also need to be a bit less liberal about the requests I accept.

But whomever you’re reaching out to, please stop wasting their time.

Buttons that are easy to click shouldn’t always be clicked.

Not everyone wants to be your digital friend.

If you’re going to make the ask and fill up TWO of someone’s inboxes, don’t be a lazy motherfucker and insult that person with one of LinkedIn’s generic “OMGBEMYFRIENDLOL” messages.

Oh — and don’t say you’ve “done work together” at your company if you haven’t really. That shit just pisses me off.

Maybe we could all start viewing LinkedIn as the next level in our careers — a way to see what people are doing professionally, beyond the pithy quotes and Instagramed food shots. I see it as an RSS feed of thought. I do more thinking with the content I see shared on LinkedIn and within my LinkedIn groups than any other social network in my repertoire.

And if you want in on some of that, it damn well better be worth my time.

So stop wasting mine with your lamesauce. And stop wasting yours by sending out a slew of “connection” requests without rhyme or reason.

For all I know, you’re the clerk at my dry cleaner. And while he’s hilarious and a super nice person who makes my clothes all kickass before I head out on business trips, I don’t really need him in my “professional network”.

You’ve been slapped. Now stop acting like a LinkedIn ass monkey and get some fucking work done.

 

 

130 replies
  1. meghab
    meghab says:

    I tell people the same thing – but damn you did such an awesome job of the bitch slap to the zombies who have no clue how to use social media. Thank you for shaking up the sheep.

    Reply
  2. tom larsen
    tom larsen says:

    How about the one’s who “endorse” you and don’t either know you or do business with you! They clcik on the endorse button for what you do but don’t do it with you! WTF?

    Reply
  3. Kai Roer
    Kai Roer says:

    Hi Erika, as always, straight from the heart! I love that! And I agree 100%, there are too many of these stupid invitations and requests going on. 
    Yet, I thought I should let you in on a secret. If you happen to use LinkedIn from iPad or iPhone using the LinkedIn official app, there is no way of writing anything – you click connect, and off the message go. I have an issue with this because it makes it too easy for people to just connect, and because I would love to add messages when I invite. Forcing me to use their web-interface, well, sucks. 
    Also, since I keep my e-mail inbox a sanctuary, I have disabled any and all messages from LinkedIn. Those few that still arrive, I use an inbox-filter to move them out of my view, and mark them read. I visit LinkedIn so often, so I do not need them to spam my inbox too. 
    Thanks for the slapping 😉

    Reply
  4. leaderswest
    leaderswest says:

    Is there any way for me to reconcile the fact that I love your point about generic LinkedIn requests, but am a closeted fan of drum circles?

    Reply
  5. keithprivette
    keithprivette says:

    Oh thank goodness….I just went back to check. I didn’t send you a fucking lame caned linkedin message to connect. Though I could have done better in my request. I fully agree and support. I always make sure when I send these, I explain why and who I am. I do blieve the mobile version of Linkedin makes this way to easy to just push the button. Good bitch slap! You should ask if you can publish some of the students requests.

    Reply
  6. George Morris
    George Morris says:

    For real. Just last night I sorted through 27 invites. 90% of them I had no info on who they were. I replied to each with a “how do I fucking know you?” … But I was a bit nicer than that.

    Reply
  7. HeatherT
    HeatherT says:

    The generic Linkedin requests KILL me but what’s even worse is the form letter from someone I’ve never heard of where all they’ve done is change my name at the top and then proceed to tell me about their business and why they might be of service to me (i.e; why I should hire them).  Eff off.  I hire people I know and like and trust.  Period.

    Reply
  8. DanielleEBowers
    DanielleEBowers says:

    That was the bitch slap heard around the LinkedIn world.  I think there are still echoes rebounding over the Andes.  What you are complaining about is why I dislike LinkedIn.  The generic requests make me froth at the mouth almost as much as auto-dms on Twitter.

    Reply
  9. BAMcopywriting
    BAMcopywriting says:

    I’m guilty of never logging into or updating my LinkedIn. I know that’s a bad thing too… maybe I should send you a request! Erika, will you be my connection on LinkedIn? I don’t bite (unless you ask me to)

    Reply
  10. Sarah Wilde
    Sarah Wilde says:

    I have preached that same thing to people on Facebook.  The modeling industry is rife with sycophants and every week I get friend requests from people I don’t know, haven’t heard of and have no desire to know.  I used to “be nice” and accept the requests, then I employed “Sandbox Rules” – it’s MY sandbox and I don’t have to let people play in it AND I can kick people out whenever I want.  They can’t play with my toys, drink my lemonade or eat my cookies… they have to go home to their own yard.

    Reply
  11. dotcalm
    dotcalm says:

    I’m being besieged and beseeched by so many Multi-Level Marketers, Insurance Salesmen, and Bankers I could vomit! They don’t know me or even WANT to KNOW me, they want to SELL to me!
    MLMers see I that I’m an entrepreneur and want me to sell THEIR product – guess what? I’m busy working here!!! I own a company – I don’t want to work for theirs and I don’t have time to promote people who won’t be able to do the same for me. I like to support other ENTREPRENEURS – which, by my definition means: “Only me, God and the government can shut me down!”
    Guess what insurance sellers and bankers? Sending me a stupid generic LinkedIn message tells me you want to suck off my list… no thanks! I value my list and don’t let my friends/clients/colleagues get spammed ’cause I’m too lazy to protect them. You can’t have my list – for any price!
    Thanks for being brave enough to call these lazy bastard, list-sucking fools out! (and thanks for the birthday book too!)

    Reply
  12. Carrie Drephal
    Carrie Drephal says:

    I have started using the reply feature to send the requesters a WTH? message blatantly stating that I have no reason to accept their invitation unless they can explain to me what good it will do me to accept them. Most don’t respond, and if they don’t, they obviously don’t want to be a professional connection that badly. Not only that, but just because we work together and it’s company policy to add everyone in the company to your connections doesn’t mean I HAVE to accept your request. You can sit in my queue and rot. I have even removed both of my current bosses due to the fact that they are not helping my professional network or career but rather hindering it. They have no place there.

    Reply
    • Sarah Wilde
      Sarah Wilde says:

      Carrie Drephal Ooo – I’m replying to one that’s “sitting and rotting” right now from some “International Finance Professional”.  I got it last week and literally said, out loud even, “Who the fuck are you and why are you requesting to be added?”

      Reply
  13. Jessica Bolanos Vanegas
    Jessica Bolanos Vanegas says:

    <— WCE piggy hat comrade aka “stalker”, although I like to refer to myself as well researched. 😉 Thanks for this post. I’m not someone who randomly adds people but it’s interesting to get a blunt take of a professional speaker’s POV, as I do add WCE speakers and mentors to my network occasionally if they ‘fit’ in my world. I’ll make sure to add all of the above from now on. My bad. Good advice. 🙂

    Reply
  14. uemike
    uemike says:

    I answer every LinkedIn request from an unknown the same way: “Hi Thanks for connecting!  How can I help you out?”
    90% of those who respond say something to the effect of “Just trying to expand my network.”  
    So let me get this straight, you’re just trying to get your number one step closer to the ‘500+ connections’ milestone?  Great! Glad I could be of assistance with this.

    Reply
  15. JoeDeGiorgio
    JoeDeGiorgio says:

    I will on occasion make the attempt to connect with someone I don’t know. I actually did it yesterday, I found someone through a blog comment who I thought to be interesting and asked to connect. The idea to craft your own message is a no brainer! If someone doesn’t know you, you have to let them know why it’s a good idea to connect. LinkedIn 101.
    I may not get the connection, but I know I took the time and effort to separate myself  from the sellers and the spammers. Erika, I’ll be sure to post a few comments here and get to know you before I even THINK of sending a request. 🙂  Great post.

    Reply
  16. donnafeldman
    donnafeldman says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, best how to use LInkedIn ever, it’s going on my resource list for my next LinkedIn presentation. Did I say thank you?

    Reply
  17. AnaPhylaxis
    AnaPhylaxis says:

    Amen, sista! You have such a knack for precisely articulating the ridiculousness that goes through my mind every time I get a LinkedIn request. Your post should be required reading for every.single.professional. I know I’ll be sharing it with those who I think rock in my world. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  18. josephlogan
    josephlogan says:

    Quick story on that: gave a talk for some B school undergrads at CU. Kid strolled in with a skateboard, baggy shorts, sideways ball cap, and some nascent shag on his chin. I jumped to conclusions and wrote him off as a slacker. When I got home, I had a LinkedIn request from him that told me 1. who he was; 2. where we met, and 3. what we talked about at the end of the course. 
    Blown. Away. I remembered him the next time I spoke there, and I made some introductions to help him with his career. His was the most professional request I have received from CU, and as a result I’m happy to help him in his career. Kid looks good in a suit, too.

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      josephlogan Love this. LONG TIME. The UofH students have ALL rocked it in so many ways. Not a lame, generic request from a single one of them. It’s a testament to the program — and the value the student put on their professional futures.

      Reply
  19. JHerbert
    JHerbert says:

    My bad….. Lol Nice bitch slap, even though I feel like Rocky after getting pummeled by Drago. Lol Thanks Drago 🙂

    Reply
  20. vsellis
    vsellis says:

    Nice, as I’m reading this I get a strange LinkedIn request. 
    Important note, there are occasions where LinkedIn recommends people for you to connect to (some you’ll know some you won’t). If you’re on the mobile app and click the + to connect with someone (let’s assume you actually know them) it doesn’t give you an opportunity to to customize the message it just sends the request. 
    LinkedIn needs to fix that but still…
    I’m with you Erika, I hate the generic message but unless someone realizes they app works that way they might not have been given a choice. Probably more forgivable if you know them than if not. Either way, I’ve stopped using the app to connect with anyone to keep me from screwing it up.

    Reply
  21. richmackey
    richmackey says:

    I had to look back – I am mortified. I sent you a generic connection note. No cleverness. No rationale or reason. Though, we did talk often enough face to face when I sent it. Still not an excuse. I feel like a heel. 🙁  (Thank goodness our relationship isn’t based solely on that invite.)
    *Raises hand* I solemnly swear I will never send another LinkedIn request with the standard, boring, horrific language LinkedIn provides automatically.  Thanks for the slap.

    Reply
      • richmackey
        richmackey says:

        Erika Napoletano richmackey It is. We tend to treat the ones closest to us the worst. But that’s another Bitch Slap all together.
        I was going to write a whole bunch of reasons why I probably sent you the generic invite… and there are many… but then it’s just a list of excuses. And I’m not doing that anymore. 
        I did it. I own it. I’m aware of it. I’m working to be better. Let’s move on.  (Related: Also not taking excuses from others anymore.)

        Reply
    • LisaMarieMary
      LisaMarieMary says:

      David Petherick Fucking elegantly. I love that. I’m always in “so much trouble” for my mouth and that is such a lovely juxtaposition that it warms me to my toes.

      Reply
  22. BrettGrischo
    BrettGrischo says:

    Aww crap.  Guilty as charged but only because I respect branding experts that do public speaking, write professionally and swear like a drunken sailor.  I’m looking forward to our meet up in April to validate why are you so lucky to now be linked in to me!  Cheers!

    Reply
  23. LisaMarieMary
    LisaMarieMary says:

    This was the planned bitch slap you warned of? And I rocked it, sending you a note? Awesome! Though I must admit that an hour or so before that, my “you might know these people” page popped up, and I clicked on people that I know and I know that they know me. This is the page that doesn’t give the option for a personal message. So I’m half guilty/half innocent this morning. Guess that means you only get to smack half my face. 😉

    Reply
    • DavidPetherick
      DavidPetherick says:

      LisaMarieMary I find that page very tempting sometimes. What I’ve learned to do is to dump the page into http://evernote.com and then when I have time, click-through onto the interesting profiles, from where I can connect personally. Thus avoiding Erika Napoletano’s bitchslapping. 
      I really think that LinkedIn is missing a trick here by not making an option for messaging from this ‘you might know these people’ or offering a more detailed profile glimpse in the rollover. Maybe it’s a premium feature some of us suckers might just pay for…

      Reply
    • CoachSherrill
      CoachSherrill says:

      LisaMarieMary  🙂  I inadvertently sent one of those canned requests from that very page; fortunately I know the person well enough, and no harm done.  I wanted to bitch slap LinkedIn for setting it up that way without even the option to describe the connection.

      Reply
  24. MitchRezman
    MitchRezman says:

    Dec 2012 1000+ LinkedIn connections 45 eCommerce/marketing groups Jan 2013 – 1000+ LinkedIn connections ZERO eCommerce/marketing groups – Note to LinkedIn – I don’t want your advice on website optimization, Adwords or SEO because you’ve never run a fucking eCommerce website. and stop endorsing me for all those skills because I don’t know shit from shinola and I certainly don’t know you – thank you Erika for your succinct observations about LinkedIn.

    Reply
  25. SteveZanini
    SteveZanini says:

    OWWWW!!!  Holy shit that one hurt so bad I have red fingers on my cheek.  NOW I would like to say that when you accepted my request to “link” you did ask how I knew you and thankfully the answer struck a chord and you accepted.  POINT BEING I now ask the same question of those who want to link with me,  no reply in 72 hours means they don’t really give a fuck and I don’t add them.  I am also toying with the idea of reducing my numbers so that my professional network is truly helpful… Any ideas from the other slapped monkeys…Tanks for the leshion (swollen cheek speak)

    Reply
  26. Joe Ray1
    Joe Ray1 says:

    HoooooSheeeeet™!  I’m ready to stand up and bitch slap those sales people who call me, leave 2-3 messages that they want to have me spend 20 minutes with them (or their software guru) listening to their pitch. I think LinkedIn needs a reply button that has the Red Head icon but asks “Why the fuck should I join your circle jerk drumming circle for?” I doubt this will stop them but it may slow them down. Or at least make them laugh. 
    Don’t some of these requests remind you of birds that land on your table and steel a fry or chip off your plate and then fly off as they shit on your napkin or table top. 
    I always leave your posts and comment forums so inspired…thanks Red!

    Reply
  27. mmangen
    mmangen says:

    Erika, while a very sensitive subject for me too this post made me laugh. I was complaining to a friend the other day how recently I’ve been getting a number of requests with the default subject changed to “Connect with me to see how I use LinkedIn” and I said something along the lines of “Who the hell told them that was better than the default subject? I imagine they will be one of the jackasses who think it’s OK to add me to their email marketing list after I accept their request. No. Thank. You.”.

    Reply
    • Carrie Drephal
      Carrie Drephal says:

      mmangen So help me if someone was ballsy enough to take my email off of LinkedIn to start sending me mass marketing emails, the hell I would unleash on them would be well deserved.

      Reply
      • mmangen
        mmangen says:

        Carrie Drephal It pisses me off to no end & I always report them as spam to their “email marketing provider”. Add to that the people who seem to think it’s OK to ask me to give them a recommendation and I have never worked with them firsthand….ooooohhhh yeah, it makes my blood boil sometimes.

        Reply
  28. MOALee
    MOALee says:

    Thank you for this. I get requests like that all the time and now I am just going to forward them your article so maybe they finally get the hint. Next you need to bitch slap those who are skills endorse happy.

    Reply
      • MOALee
        MOALee says:

        Erika Napoletano After I send you a generic invite I will expect you to endorse me for any random skills I possess. I will in return endorse you using the f-bomb and a few made up cuss words too.

        Reply
  29. bdorman264
    bdorman264 says:

    Uh, I thought you were supposed to do it because everyone is doing it….I will delete my request….

    Obviously I’m not near as picky or popular as you, but I also don’t really give it that much thought either. I actually do have some standards and want to somewhat ‘know’ the people, but for the way I’m using LinkedIn right now, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve got more important things to think about like ‘where am I going to eat lunch today’ or something serious like that. 

    At least we know where you stand on this, huh? I still want to be like you when I grow up though…:).

    Reply
  30. ShareCatcher
    ShareCatcher says:

    I am one of those fortunate ones who doesn’t see many LinkedIn requests. I could never randomly send requests to people I haven’t communicated with on some level, even if there are plenty of people I’d like to get to know better. Unfortunately, I did get snared once by the generic send from the ‘People You Might Know’ page. When i realized the requests were sent without me being able to submit  a message, I was mortified.  “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” is my motto, and I too hate the generic message. I quickly sought forgiveness and was.  BTW, I do like the tip http://www.livefyre.com/profile/11590714/ made in another comment about utilizing Evernote with the You Might Know page to make a a more personable LinkedIn connection afterward.

    Reply
  31. C_Pappas
    C_Pappas says:

    I am very careful about who I accept into my network and very much hate the canned LinkedIn text that people just dont delete. Takes 2 seconds! Lots of people I know just hit accept all the way down the list but I dont. In fact someone called me out on it recently and said ‘well I cant see your email since you didnt accept my request’. My response ‘I have no idea who you are and never met you so until that happens, I will decline’ thank you very much. Im glad I do this because when you are job hunting, people will call your connections. If your connected and the person cant recall who you are, that will just look bad.

    Reply
  32. seamlessmoves
    seamlessmoves says:

    I’m so glad to have this article as a resource for future LinkedIn “monkeys.” Next, let’s get LinkedIn to stop suggesting random skills for which they want us to endorse each other. These things aren’t even mentioned in our profiles, yet our contacts feel obligated to endorse us for underwater basketweaving because they think everyone else is! I have news for you, LinkedIn: you’re not Facebook (and we like that about you). Stop trying to be!

    Reply
    • Carrie Drephal
      Carrie Drephal says:

      seamlessmoves It’s not so much even all LinkedIn’s doing that they are trying to be like Facebook as it also is the masses of uneducated individuals who treat it like Facebook rather than using it for a profession networking tool. It’s quite frustrating when people are bitten by the social media bug and feel they must be a part of everything without knowing what it is all about first.

      Reply
      • Sarah Wilde
        Sarah Wilde says:

        Carrie Drephal seamlessmoves I’ve had to explain to people that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook.  It’s your Professional Social Network, your interactive Resume.  You should keep it professional; for instance, your profile photo should make it look like you have at least half a brain, i.e. not you performing a kegger handstand.

        Reply
        • Susan Woolner
          Susan Woolner says:

          Sarah Wilde Carrie Drephal seamlessmoves Unless, of course, you’re a professional handstanding kegger who is looking for more work.

          Reply
  33. erinreadruddick
    erinreadruddick says:

    AMEN! I put the words “Don’t use the default invite” at the top of my profile and STILL get the default invite from far too many people.
    I even sent messages to a few folks who invited me to connect with a “Tell me how we’ll both benefit” message. One person actually had the gall to wrote back “just wanted to stay in touch – no benefits.” But I don’t know this person, so could we *stay* in touch?
    I’m running a training session on LinkedIn for college students in a few weeks and will be referencing this post.

    Reply
  34. SarahMcK
    SarahMcK says:

    Hell yeah!!  I read this tip a while ago in a book on networking (granted, it was a little less *bitch*).  Made perfect sense and ever since then I’ve been very very careful to connect, not collect friends.  And here I was just thinking I was a little snitty getting annoyed with people connecting with the standard linkedin.  Thanks for letting me be a bitch !  p.s.  just discovered you today – big fan  already… may be in touch for coffee (If you do virtual flat whites in Sydney?)

    Reply
  35. AssistantNikki
    AssistantNikki says:

    I’m so happy to come across someone who feels the way I do about this. Apparently, we’re in the majority because most people prefer the easy way out.

    Reply
  36. JosephRatliff
    JosephRatliff says:

    I wrote a post once titled “Please Don’t Make Me Sorry I Connected With You” that addresses the other end of this idea you wrote about Erika.
    Once someone does manage to get through the “filter”… I’m surprised by the number of people that screw up those initial first few contacts with the person they were trying to connect with.  http://josephratliff.com/blog/connected-with-you/
    I think we just have to think a little bit, I try to use the same respect as I would when meeting a stranger “offline.”  Because, well, you are doing the same thing online when using Linkedin or other tools to connect.
    Just because the Internet allows us to connect to anybody quickly, doesn’t mean it’s a shortcut for relationship building.
    Great article Erika. 🙂

    Reply
  37. Tinu
    Tinu says:

    I hug this post and all its cuss words. This is why I grew to hate LinkedIn. When I do use it, my favorite game is to make my connection request with people I already know as inappropriate as possible. The goal is for them to be laughing uncontrollably in some public setting.

    Reply
  38. JustKimOnline
    JustKimOnline says:

    Love this post! I recently “cleaned up” my connections. I see so much how having 500+ connections is GREAT for business…”I’ll take 500 connections for $1000 Alex” ONLY if they are 500 connections that are beneficial.  I guard LinkedIn acceptance like I guard giving and receiving business cards (I don’t promote “bonfire networking”) – I want to know why we are connecting and quite frankly should we connect.

    Reply
  39. Susan Woolner
    Susan Woolner says:

    Great Rant! It made my day. My person pet peeve is the LinkedIn users who use the email engine to “find additional connections” by connecting with anyone who is in their address book. Unfortunately, that LinkedIn tool is a “stupid tool” because it still sends invites to people who are ALREADY connections. I usually send back the email request that says “I’m already a connection but I’m beginning to regret it!”

    Reply
  40. docsheldon1
    docsheldon1 says:

    Thanks, Erika, for a wondrous rant on one of my pet peeves! I’ll sometimes just delete/refuse invites from unknown people out of hand, but occasionally, I’ll check out their profile to see if maybe my 60 y/o gray matter has gone on retreat (it wouldn’t be first time). When it’s obvious that some MLMer is just trying to get to my list, I may go all snarky and respond with a WTF and suggest an unnatural act. They’re probably too dense to be affected – I’m sure it’s all a numbers game – but at least *I* feel better! LinkedIn definitely needs to stop sending one-click default messages.

    I’m really pleased that a friend recommended your blog to me today – I love your style! Rest assured, though, that I won’t send you a connection request… I don’t handle rejection well.

    Reply
    • Jim McDonald
      Jim McDonald says:

      docsheldon1 Years ago I became what is known as an Open Networker, and had to agree that I would never refuse someone’s networking request who approached me as an Open Networker. Big mistake. Yes, it did net me a huge number of “connections” but the vast majority don’t have anything in common with me other than being on Linked In. I won’t accept an invite from someone I don’t know who hasn’t taken the time to write something unique, and I would not expect anyone to accept an invite of mine if I sent one that way.

      Reply
  41. Todd Le
    Todd Le says:

    The arrogant and condescending tone of your rant is such a big turn off!  You need to learn how to be humble and modest as you will realize sooner than later that you are not important as you think you are.  In this economy, people just want to expand their network, get to know new people or just want friends in their field.
    Some people are guilty of what you have described, out of laziness or ignorance, but the bottom line is most people’s intention is just wanting to connect.  So stop being anal and snobby about the silly etiquette.  Learn to be kind and understanding as karma is b-tch,

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      Todd Le And perhaps you should think about walking into other people’s houses and telling them how to behave and calling them names. Let’s see — you’ve called me arrogant, condescending, anal, and snobby. I’ll just let you think about that and if you’d tolerate that behavior in YOUR house.
      The behavior you describe isn’t useful — expanding one’s network “for the sake of” — and you certainly can’t do it if you don’t have a goal and purpose. Connection requests without goal, purpose and explanation piss me off and it’s plenty OK for me to say that they piss me off.
      Appreciate you stopping by for a read — and since I won’t be seeing you again (thank heavens), I hope you find that Karma is, indeed, the bitch you say she is. Seems you might be due a visit from her yourself. I’m fine with how Karma pays me dividends 🙂

      Reply
    • JosephRatliff
      JosephRatliff says:

      Todd LeOh Todd… you made one fatal mistake in your comment, you obviously don’t know Erika, at all.  She’s one of the LEAST arrogant OR condescending people I know.  In fact, she’s very humble.
      As to your second point, about ” the bottom line is most people’s intention is just wanting to connect.”
      You’re wrong there as well Todd, on multiple levels (including your comment’s tone here).  
      Think about this…
      If someone GENUINELY wanted to connect with someone else, and wanted to get to know someone else, on a “more than superficial” level… wouldn’t that person want to, at the very least, take a second to type in the NAME of a person they wanted to connect with on LinkedIn when sending a connect request?
      See, the other way, just sending a request to connect without taking the time to personalize it at least a little, IS in fact lazy.
      Hell, I’ve done it too (sent connect requests the “lazy” way).  I think we all do from time to time.
      Erika is pointing out the way to actually get better results… nothing more.  And I can attest that it works.
      Anal?  Snobby?  Condescending?  Arrogant?  Nope.  Silly etiquette?  Wrong again Todd.  It’s called being genuine and taking that extra little step that most people won’t take to build deeper and more meaningful connections.

      Reply
    • SydneyOwen
      SydneyOwen says:

      Todd Le I am going to take the time to connect with Erika on LinkedIn now, using your post as an example. Thank you for paving the way. Also? Simmer down on the hatesauce, it doesn’t taste good and makes you have horrible breath.

      Reply
    • richmackey
      richmackey says:

      Todd Le Oh Sweet Jesus. I peed a little this morning when I read this. It’s like you’ve never read any of Erika’s books… never read her blog… never seen her Twitter feed. The Power of Unpopular. Look it up. It’s what we all signed up for and clearly, you’re not one of us.

      Reply
    • ScottVann
      ScottVann says:

      Todd Le You need to take your arrogant and condescending tone and go eff yourself. I met Erika Napoletano over the weekend for the first time, having just recently become aware of her work, when she spoke at a conference I attended. Unlike some conference speakers, who just fly in, speak, and fly out, she actually participated in the conference by sitting in on the other sessions and interacting with guests on breaks.
      While standing at a pre-conference happy hour meeting new friends in walks Erika. I knew immediately who she was, although shorter than I expected. She introduced herself with no pretense, and carried on a conversation without dominating it. I found her to be one who actually gave a damn about the people she was interacting with. 
      You don’t connected on LinkedIn because you want to network with them, you connect on LinkedIn because you’ve already networked with them. And even though I have actually had some interaction with Erika, I wouldn’t dream of attempting to connect with her via LinkedIn, because I haven’t yet earned that. 
      Go earn your right to network, Todd, and stop your bitching.

      Reply
    • RobertBajak
      RobertBajak says:

      Todd Le “Other that that, how was the play, Mrs. LinkedIn?”
      I am highly amused by and sorry for you. Everything you accused Erika of, you committed in your post. We call that “projection”. Carpe Vitam.

      Reply
  42. RobertBajak
    RobertBajak says:

    Erika, I don’t know you from Adam. I’ve dropped a few f-bon mots on your wall and clicked “Like” a lot, but that doesn’t rate a professional relationship. I wouldn’t dream of asking you to become one of my network fodder minions. We would at least have to had met face to face, swilled some single malt and discussed the spiraling entropy of common sense and manners in today’s professional world. Then, I would politely ask if we could be net buds.
    What ever happened to romance in the professional world? Just because the internet is fast doesn’t mean we have to be “Wham! Bam! You’re in my contacts, ma’am!”
    Bravo! Great slap! Flame the haters and full speed ahead!
    Illegitimi non carborundum

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      RobertBajak Heh. Robert, I’d connect with you any day of the week. Having a few years of street cred in my digital world earns you that privilege.
      I think people forget that connecting is, indeed, a privilege!

      Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      Jeff Miller1 I think too much? I’ll take that as a compliment since the people around here seem to like how I think and the frequency with which I do.
      And since you don’t, please allow me to hold the door for you so you can go find people who think like you do — since that is obviously (and most delightfully) not me 🙂

      Reply
  43. JasonMillerCA
    JasonMillerCA says:

    Best advice of the day “Buttons that are easy to click shouldn’t always be clicked.” Nice post Erika. PS. I hate drum circles too.

    Reply
  44. AndyMathisDVM
    AndyMathisDVM says:

    What is LinkedIn?  *looks around . . . tries to keep a straight face. . . fails* 
    I don’t use LinkedIn much, but you are so  right.  Now pinterest notifications- those make me want to stab someone with a fork.   After a gazillion notifications in my inbox  about brown butter, bacon, and chocolate chip cookies . . . turned. them. off.

    Reply
  45. AngeliqueDuff
    AngeliqueDuff says:

    Always a pleasure to read your rants…makes me chuckle out loud.
     Loved this one Erika.
    You’re so right – Canned one-click requests are lame. 
    {{{ BTW, can you UN-CONNECT with someone on LinkedIN? No one has {yet} pissed me off enough to search for the function.}}}
    I was disappointed when LinkedIn added one-click endorsements – to me it seemed like a watered-down recommendation, and the way they do it – recommend 4 people “does Mr X have this random skill” is even worse!
    I’ll be teaching a “social media for photographers” course at college this term – looking forward to sharing with them your blog post about LinkedIn that will pique their interest, not bore them with statistics and how-tos (admittedly, which I have been known to write myself on occasion).

    Reply
  46. Jim McDonald
    Jim McDonald says:

    My second biggest peeve on LinkenIn is the single click endorsement. Like most people, I don’t truly know the majority of my connections, so how in the hell could I possibly know whether or not John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt knows about Multi-level Marketing? In my humble opinion, that has to be the most useless function on the site. End of rant.

    Reply
    • JosephRatliff
      JosephRatliff says:

      Jim McDonald man, I soooo wanted to start typing “and whenever we go out, the people always shout…” , oh wait… I just did. 🙂

      And I totally agree, it is useless in it’s current form.  I think it should be combined with “recommendations,” so that when somebody gives you a recommendation (when they type one out, they could also add what they “endorse” about you.
      It would look like this…
      “I highly recommend Jim McDonald because he knows the John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt song better than anyone else.” — Joseph Ratliff
      Joseph endorsed Jim for:  singing – shouting – comedy – etc….

      Reply
      • Sarah Wilde
        Sarah Wilde says:

        JosephRatliff Jim McDonald HILARIOUS!  I KNOW that song… However, I can sing Eddy Arnold’s “Richest Man in the World” better…

        Reply
        • Jim McDonald
          Jim McDonald says:

          Sarah Wilde JosephRatliff  Yeah, but Sarah, can you sing Sheb Wooley’s “One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater”? I remember walking around the house singing that to the radio when I was a kid. And yeah, that does kinda age me, doesn’t it? 😉

          Reply
      • Jim McDonald
        Jim McDonald says:

        JosephRatliff  Great idea! That’s why it will never be adopted. LOL I would love to see that recommendation on my profile, though. 🙂

        Reply
    • MichaelEdits
      MichaelEdits says:

      Jim McDonald That’s so damn right. I earned 25 Recommendations the hard way, by being damn good at what I do, and now I’ve got hundreds of Endorsements from total strangers shoving them down the page and perhaps flushing my credibility all to shit. I’ve been endorsed for Textiles and I’m an editor/proofreader. WTF?

      Reply
  47. skooloflife
    skooloflife says:

    I shared this on my Linkedin profile asking people to please read it before they connect with me. I get so many random requests and I have no idea what the heck the point is to them. If I send a connection request, I always make it a point to include a personalized message.   What’s amazing is tomorrow my inbox there will filled with connection requests from people who don’t give any reason.  The funny thing is I even put a status update there saying “please specify why you want to connect.” It was followed with 6 random connection requests. So THANK YOU for writing this. I hope the CEO of  Linkedin finds it and shares it.

    Reply
  48. Brody Luebkeman
    Brody Luebkeman says:

    Was reading through articles on how to improve my profile and someone posted a link to your article. What a fantastic way to wake up! This was so hilarious but completely true (yes I’m guilty of “like to add you to my professional network” but that’s gonna stop now.). Thank you Erika! Definitely going to start reading more of your stuff!!

    Reply
  49. thedude68
    thedude68 says:

    Ahhhh…..here’s the issue with LinkedIn…a bunch of arrogant assholes who whine about how they couldn’t care less about requests but yet find the time to whine about them. If someone sends me a request I accept it whether I know themor not. I guess I would also have to admit that my shit stinks and….yes I have to admit it….I put my pants on one leg at a time. Self important fucks!

    Reply
  50. KaterinaKaterinak
    KaterinaKaterinak says:

    Instead of spending SO much time writing this, you could just deactivate the notifications emails. That would save us all really valuable time 🙂 
    And you seem like a public person (Speaker, branding strategist, front-stabber, author, bla bla bla), you should appreciate any single contact request. Yes, they do indicate that you might be popular (no idea why)! Ahhh, see?!?!?! Think about this Erika 😉 Thanks!

    Reply
  51. aimeelevens
    aimeelevens says:

    Good stuff. I’m a recruiter and get tons of folks asking to connect with me with zero greeting or explanation why – and I even have it ON my profile that they need to say why they want to connect and that I don’t hire candidates looking for sponsorship for my clients, yet I still get generic invites from Pakistan and China. As a recruiter I use InMails to contact folks where I have more than twelve or thirteen characters to say why I’m reaching out – I never use the Connect feature for folks I don’t know – yet soooo many skeezy recruiter do. Bleah! 

    The only thing I’ll beg to differ on is the drycleaning one – if you’re job searching or hiring, you never know who knows who and when you’re trying to find good people, sometimes it indeed is your neighbor’s brother-in-law who’s the software engineer you need, or your aunt’s BFF who’s hiring a sales exec. At least in my town, the more folks you know the better in the career world, which is what a large % of LinkedIn is geared toward.

    Reply

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