UH oh—Don’t Lose The Network that you’ve Built-up on LinkedIn!

UH oh—Don’t Lose The Network that you’ve Built-up on LinkedIn!

Visiting Guest, Raymond Helfrich

A quick note from LisaMarie: First, thank you Raymond, for sharing your tale here – great first hand advice on how to effectively network on LinkedIn! Also, there used to be a way to see how many IDK’s you had, to date but they no longer allow that so, as you say below, be careful – better to be safe than sorry!

1,125 people had (either invited me) (or, a much larger percentage) said yes to my invite, so far, when this came in on the top of an invitation that I was going to make:

I was very surprised to see this! Do you ever click ‘IDK’ (“I Don’t Know” this person)? I don’t—if I receive the simple generic invitation text, from someone I don’t recognize (and I have a good memory), I simply ask them if we’ve met (which they should have told me, in the first place). Especially since “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” is just not very attractive to me! I always (sure, you can say ‘cynically’) think “Of course you would: I have a diverse and good-sized network—you’d like to add me and all the other people in it! (But what’s in it for me?!)” I think that LinkedIn should make that ‘suggestion’ text disappear when that data-field is entered/mouse-clicked.

If it’s from somebody with whom I see no possible relevance in my life, and if they don’t (give me the courtesy of a) reply, I just ignore/delete. (I understand the potential value of a large network, but I’m not a LION [LI ‘Open’ Networker—accepting any and all]; this is my compromise.) Suggest something that we have in common: e.g., a person, a town, an industry, a group? And make it interesting to me! At least more like “I’d like to offer you access to my professional network on LinkedIn”!) Yes, I presume that many times it comes from someone who’s given their email address + password (that equals ‘permission’) for LI to access (‘mass-mail’) (or ‘spam’) their entire (online?) address book. This is another unfortunate ‘feature’ of the system, and I recommend that nobody uses it.

I always personalize my invites, and explain why I’m reaching out to someone (who/what we have in common, or whatever). The nerve of some people to decline my courteous, friendly, explanatory messages, in which I always offer my network and my help!

As I wondered how many IDK’s (can possibly start to) outweigh the “good networker” flag of a good-sized network, I did some research, and it seemed to be five, and so I must have had four when I got this?

Oh I could see if I had a small network, and therefore a high percentage of IDK’s, but shouldn’t the database be programmed to relax, after some length of membership time and/or some size of network or activity in it, including recommendations and messages and groups, etc., with no other complaints (to my knowledge!)?

Furthermore, I would think that most real/active networkers wouldn’t want to jeopardize anyone, even if they didn’t know them/want to connect. So what’s worse is that it’s probably (forgetful?) ‘amateurs’ who are doing it.

Well I’ve been living with that yellow warning for a while, taking a few calculated risks for several weeks. … and today it happened—aaack!—the next level!

61 more people had said ‘Yes’ (to my invitation to connect on LinkedIn) since I got the first level warning…

… but now that five (?) in total have said ‘No’ I’m likely a big spammer risk?! (Presumably/hopefully nobody’s told the powers that be that I’ve done anything else other than be ‘unknown’ to them.) Discounting the other 1100 over several years, even 61:5 is a good ratio!

Experiencing a cold sweat now, at the threat of loss of a valuable asset/tool, I finally got over being stunned (OK, I don’t deal well with rejection!) and clicked the blue link (above), and got this… (click on image to make it larger)

Wow, that seems easy! I just have to click the box and then the OK button? No pleading to a human? No humble contrition?? No supplication for empathy?! Smooth sailing! So I did that, and went on to invite that person without knowing their e-mail address.

And now I wonder if I’m violating the ‘User Agreement’ by writing this missive!

The bottom line: customize/personalize your invitations, to maximize your acceptance/minimize the potential for rejection. And be aware if you’re nearing a threshold (that I still think should change). You don’t want to toss your virtual ‘Rolodex’ into an online ‘wind-storm’!

Raymond tries to stay “open to the universe,” and so, has not had a clearly/traditionally defined career path; he recognizes that this (as everything) has pros & cons, and chooses to focus on the former, happily knowing that he’s well-rounded. He has had many, varied, life experiences, and so, has many, diverse, skills to access and utilize. All of his jobs have come to him. He’s worked in office administration; building construction; bartending; film- & video-editing; technology-project-coordination; media relations; and customer service management, and most recently he was the maitre d’ of a busy restaurant. He enjoyed that very much, would love to do that again, and ‘brands’ himself as “Mr. Hospitality”!

He has a passion for “social networking,” (both online and in person) which to him means both “making relationships” and “bringing people together,” through discerning what they have in common and how they can help each other.

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