A colleague and I were recently discussing this new trend in social networking. It was also the first day that I unlinked from someone, on purpose.
What’s a Linked In Whore? Where do I find one? Are they cheap? Just what will they do for money or a connection?
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple years. Linked In was one of the first online contact managers/social networks. Probably not the first, but certainly one of the better, and one of the first to embrace Web 2.0 stuff. So it’s kind of like FaceBook Lite, without all the touchy feely “Come be my friend stuff” and about 11 million times more professional than MySpace.
It’s supposed to be more professional, more business like. Store your contacts online, see who they know, etc, etc. Through these connections you can ask to be introduced to your connections, connections. If you’re in public relations or sales this is probably a good thing. They do try to protect you though. Just because you can see my connections doesn’t mean you can contact them. Instead you have to ask me to be introduced. You get to play match maker. Instead of going up to the woman in the bar and asking her out, you have to ask a friend to introduce you. Again this is generally good because it’s on the Internet and you don’t know these people, it’s also virtual, so you can’t turn them down directly or slap them if it’s appropriate. So a referral is generally welcome. But Linked In whores are screwing this all up. They’ll introduce anyone to anyone.
My 115 legit connections link me to 730,400 other professionals and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It might be a good thing if I were selling something directly, or in the job market. Otherwise not so good.
For the record I submit if you have: (500 or more connections) you’re a Linked In Whore.
This means you’ll link to anyone just for asking. You have no scruples. (You’re also likely to be a recruiter which only validates that you have no scruples). I also proclaim that if you have 500+ connections you don’t know most of them, and couldn’t recognize them if you saw them. No way no how. So why are you connected to them? Why am I connected to you?
Of my 115 connections I’ve personally met probably 110 of them. In fact that’s one of my personal criteria for linking with someone. I’m sure I have a few (less than a dozen) with whom I’m only vaguely familiar with. What value is there to having them on my list? I’ve probably done business with them or may want their opinion on something, some technology, or maybe some person some day. Everyone else is out.
All my bad Linked In experiences come from Linked in Whores. Generally connections to them, like a bad STD, they just want to spread. They want me to introduce them to my connections and I don’t know who they are. Just because they are connected to someone they must be good right? Uh, no, especially when their a whore connected to another whore.
The biggest epiphany for me came from Sales people using Linked In. (Generally also connection whores). These typically seem to be those those that I’ve met in the past, or one of their co-workers. If I’m not a customer now, what makes you think that just because you’ve found a way to be connected to me via a group or other connection that I want to buy stuff from you now? I don’t. I don’t like cold calls, I don’t like solicitations for business. I don’t want that through Linked In. Linked In for me is a network of people I trust. I submit that nobody knows and fully trusts and respects 500+ people. Not for any length of time. Not really.
If I were Internet Czar, I’d make these connections expire. If you haven’t contacted me and I haven’t contacted you in 6 months to a year, then I don’t really know you, don’t do business with you and probably don’t need you. But more importantly I don’t need you or any of your connections trying to sell me stuff. Maybe they don’t really go away, but they go into a “Time-Out” state where they can see my connections, but none of their connections can see my connections. I *might* need them someday, that’s why I probably Linked to then in the first place.
If you find yourself in job seeking mode you can ask your connections to hook you up again or take you out of “Time-Out”. Yeah, that would help out a lot.
The Internet is full of wonderful stuff, but as with anything else in life it only takes a few to screw it up for the rest of us.