Are you a victim of drive-by Social Networking? Or, worse yet, are you a perpetrator of this mideed?
Drive-by Social Networking is my term for those that send you connection requests on LinkedIn with the default “I’d like to add you to my network” message. With this method, you (as the recipient) have three options:
- Accept the connection with no idea of who this person is
- Spend 5 minutes looking at their LI profile, trying to figure out who this person is, and why they want to connect with you
- Ignore the connection and go about your day.
Social Networking is among the Web 2.0 technologies that are indicated by user-generated and user-controlled content. So, on a social networking site, why would I accept a connection request from someone that I know nothing about and, most likely, knows nothing about me? I have more valuable things to do with my day than to spend time tracking down details of who you are and why I would want to connect with you. And no, being part of the same LinkedIn or trade group does not automatically give me this answer. In most cases, I’m just going to hit the “Archive” button and on about my day.
If you really want to be successful at social networking, just as in real-life networking, it is important to let a new contact know how you can benefit them, or what you hope to gain from them. Networking is about building relationships, so introduce yourself, instead of just flinging a virtual business card in their general direction.
Word. It’s about the value of having a friend on a network, I figure; and the inherent worth of some nameless face is pretty close to zero. Numbers may make use feel better in the short term, but the cost of having to sort through these people later on down the road means more noise, less signal.