9 Additional Answers
(IT Systems & Security consultant, Goldoff Consulting)
Probably 90% of the invitations I get from 'unknowns' are just that, but 10% or so people have been referred to me by others that do know me.
Normal protocol says there should be a message with the invitation to connect, stating how they know me, or why they're sending an invitation.
I'll reply once to a blank invite asking how they were referred to my LinkedIn profile, or how they might know me.
I then either get a valid answer worthy of consideration, or I don't and I delete the invite.
Not only do I want to protect 'my' information, I also don't want to help the spammer fine new targets, from those contacts found in my profile
(President, Summers Hospitality Group)
If you don't know them, why would you connect to them and allow them access to your friends and colleagues?
I simply tell people that, while I appreciate the invitation, I do not accept connection requests from people I do not know.
Sometimes, it's just that simple.
(The LinkedIn Guy, Rick Itzkowich Consulting)
There are only two reasons to be on LinkedIn:
1- To FIND others
2- To be FOUND by others
If you want to find (and connect) to others, then having a large network of people makes it more likely that someone in your network will be connected to the people you want to meet.
In addition, by having a large diverse network also allows you to offer more resources to the people in your network.
Connecting with people you don't know on LinkedIn is really no different than attending a face-to-face networking event and approaching people whom you don't know. You meet, chat for a few minutes, possible exchange business cards, etc. Some of those connections grow into relationships and some of them don't. Same with LinkedIn.
Here are two examples where having connected with people whom I didn't know has paid off handsomely:
1- One of my colleagues contacted me saying they were writing a children's book and then needed help. I posed a question to my LinkedIn network and I got responses from 13 people. Two of those people were people that I hardly knew and they ended up being the exact resource that my colleague was looking for. This would not have happened had we not been connected.
2- I recently posed a question on LinkedIn because I needed information about getting a Visa to go to India. One of the responses was from a person in my network whom I didn't really know. He used to work for the Indian Embassy in CA and gave me some insider's information that I wouldn't have found elsewhere. In addition he asked me the following: 'when are you coming to India and how can I help you?' Again this would not have happened had we not been connected.
Fact is you don't know who all the people you know know. Also you never know when you will be needing something that someone in your network offers. So by being connected, the relationship get's started. It may lay dormant for a while but someday it may grow into something.
There is very little danger to connecting with folks you don't know on LinkedIn. As to other's taking advantage of my network, I've never had that happen in 5 years of using LinkedIn.
For me, LinkedIn is about adding value to my network. If I believe that you can add value to my network, I will connect with you.
(CEO, Leader Networks)
The answer is dependent upon your goals for your linkedin account. Are you in business development or marketing and use your linkedin account primarily for business and to increase company awareness? This would be a different account purpose than those using linkedin for job hunting or professional networking. So, the answer to the question for each individual lies in the strategic intention for their account. And, if you don't know why you have a linkedin account or haven't really thought about what you want to get out of having one, it would be useful to both determine the goals for yourself and the, align your profile according to your purpose to ensure your linkedin experience is beneficial to you.
that's my two cents!
(Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Focus.com)
(Senior Consultant, Sirius Technology)
It depends really. You can pretty much cover it off in 3 easy questions
Why are you using Linkedin?
What contact settings do you have on your profile?
Did they personalise the invitation?
If you are just looking to keep a close knit network of colleagues/friends you have worked with in the past I would probably just send a brief message back asking why they wish to connect. If I get no reply I will click 'I don't know this person,' If I get a reply thats just around networking for the sake of it, I would ignore it. If they are offering something I am interested in around my settings I may add them.
There are a lot of people just wishing to gain access to your network, and if you feel your being pestered by the same people just click 'don't know them' if enough people turn round and do the same thing they will be blocked from adding until they get through to the support team.
As with anything it is all about perception, it is probably easier to just ignore them than be the one to get them blocked. You never know where they may end up, or if you might need one of their contacts in the future...
(CEO and Founder, Inside Sales Recruiting)
thought you all might like an update. I replied with an attempt to get to know them better. His reply below. Outcome: ignore.
Donald Kernan has sent you a message.
Subject: RE: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
Not sure if we actually met, I just plugged in my huge list of contacts during my SEO set up some how I got random extras but welcome and nice to meet you
On 11/29/10 7:06 PM, Kevin Gaither wrote:
Would you like to chat for 5 minutes to figure out how we might be able to best help each other out?
On November 29, 2010 6:23 PM, Donald Kernan wrote:
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
(Sales/Marketing, Prairie Pacific Coastal Express)
To me, the whole point of networking is to get to know new people, expand my network and open myself up to new ideas and information. Joining LinkedIn without reaching out to new people is like buying a car, then leaving it in the garage. When I only want to connect with 'friends', I do so on Facebook.
I review all invitations, and will connect with anyone who appears sincere. Spam me once and you're warned. Spam me twice and you're gone from my network.
I do not reveal my connections to each other, as I believe in protecting others' privacy. For myself, though, I want to be fairly open and connected to lots of interesting people who I can connect to each other, when appropriate. We never know from whom, or where, the next great idea or inspiration will show up, or who we may be able to assist in the future.
As someone who has reached out to many people I woanted like to connect with on LinkedIn, but didn't (yet) know, I will never 'IDK' (I Don't Know this person) or blackball someone for doing the same. I ignore some invitations and decline to join some groups, but I don't overtly reject unless I pick up an 'off' vibe. For me, a wide and varied network - particularly within my industry - is a wonderfully dynamic and stimulating environment in which to play.
While I choose to network quite openly and actively, I realize that some people do not. I leave my profile (but not my connections) quite visible, so that people are able make an informed decision about networking with me.
There are many ways to participate on LinkedIn, and in order to benefit, you do need to participate. How you choose to do that will define the results you get from being there. Or maybe, deciding why you are there will define how you choose to participate?
All the best in your networking ventures! Remember, 'no guts, no glory'! :-)
(VP, CTO, Arrowpoint Corporation)
I tend to ignore generic inquiries with the standard LinkedIn text versus a personal text invite. I don't accept all invites. If there is business to be done with someone, I can still work with them through referrals or introductions. I very much dislike it when someone invites everyone who works, or has worked, for their employer. Working for a large firm that can be a hassle to accept all such invites and in my opinion is an overstep.