The missing Link(edIn)

Are you on LinkedIn? If so, you’ve probably ‘connected’ with someone or received a ‘connection request’. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn enables users to state how they know each other, with the intention of discouraging those who do not actually know each other to connect.

So, you’ve identified the person that you want to connect with, now you have to select how you know the person. Are you a colleague, either past or present? This one is fairly self-explanatory. Were you classmates? Again, this one is fairly straightforward, as is the option to connect as friends. However, it’s the option of ‘we’ve done business together’ that is slightly limited. This option, to me, is the option that suppliers or contractors use to connect with individuals that they have either worked for or appointed to work as an external supplier. However, this is also the route that prospective suppliers go down. Now, whilst I am aware of the relationship between the external individual and I appreciate that they are looking to work on a project however it seems slightly presumptuous to offer to connect because ‘we’ve done business together’, when we haven’t.

Therefore, I’m going to propose that LinkedIn offer another option into the connection field. I’m not quite sure of the wording, something like ‘we’d love to do business with you’ would better define the prospect/ client relationship. Ok, I appreciate that this could lead to a lot of spamming from agencies hoping to connect via cold connecting, however I would like to think that those receiving connection requests will use their best judgement before accepting a connection request.

Oh, and a footnote on this… just in case anyone thinks that this blog is about a specific example, i.e. them! Don’t panic, I saw someone on LinkedIn recently that fell into more than one category and I had to think twice before I selected my connect option. 

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2 responses to “The missing Link(edIn)

  1. I agree that the relationship you describe is hard to categorise on LinkedIn. It’s happened to me dozens of times after attending networking events. I’ve spent 20 minutes having a work-related discussion with someone I have never worked with in which we discover common interests and attitudes, similar areas of expertise and experience. We say we will keep in touch on LinkedIn because we enjoyed meeting up and we might want to work together, refer each other or pick each other’s brains in the future.

    Like you, I can’t describe that as working together. I tend to go for friend, which is equally stretching the semantics a bit. But I feel that either makes me look more popular than I really am, or makes the new connection feel I am a bit needy or lonely. I can live with either of those. At least it doesn’t leave me open to any hint of trying to overplay a connection .

    I wouldn’t personally want a category of ‘would like to work together’. I think it would be abused and the fantastic networking platform LinkedIn has provided to date would be put in jeopardy.

  2. Interesting point. Perhaps my proposed wording is not quite right but I feel that people push their luck, which is likely to do more damage than good. I received a connection request yesterday from a complete random, claiming to be my friend. Never seen the guy before in my life so I actually decided not just to decline the request but also report the individual for spam.

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