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Andrew S. Baker (ASB)

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Why Won’t You Accept My Network Connection Request?

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I recently read an article by Meg Guiseppi entitled, “14 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter, and I found that I shared many of her views on what constitutes a good network connection on Twitter.

In my case, however, I am a member of multiple social networks, and I don’t use them all in the same manner, so the guidelines that I follow are dependent on the class of social network involved.  I broadly classify my social networking activity as follows:

  • Business / Professional Networking
  • Social / Personal Networking

 

Business / Professional Networking

I classify the vast majority of my networks, including LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Naymz as professional networking sites.  Since I consider myself to be an open networker, I am happy to connect to those individuals who also value open networking and understand the value of diverse networks.  Closed networks are fine, but for business purposes, I find open networks more useful

If I receive a connection request from someone on one of my business networks to connect to me on another business network, I have no problems accepting those. In fact, I will accept almost any connection request, so long as it doesn’t trigger my spidey-sense or violate the guidelines listed later in this post.

If you want to get connected to me for short-term business opportunities, or with the hope that we can work together sometime in the future, then be sure to send me an invite via one of the aforementioned professional networks where I do the bulk of my business networking.  Or just check out my XeeSM.

 

Social / Personal Networking

Twitter, for me, is a hybrid social network.  I send a lot of business traffic over it, and I am willing to follow a variety of contributors, but I also send personal tweets over this channel. 

OTOH, I put Facebook squarely in the personal / social networking camp.  And, I primarily connect to people I know or who are related to me.   Occasionally, after we’ve done some business together, I will invite or accept an invitation from a business contact on Facebook, but this is generally the exception rather than the rule.   If you really want to become an FB friend, be sure to meet me a couple of times, otherwise, be happy with our interaction on other networks until a stronger relationship develops.

That makes Facebook a closed network for me, and not my focus for business activities.  As I see it, Business = LinkedIn

 

Connection Request Acceptance Guidelines

The following guidelines apply more to LinkedIn than any other network, primarily because I use LinkedIn more than any of my other networks.  Some items, like the “values” guideline, are more focused on Twitter.  While it hasn’t happened all that often, I have been known to check through my connections and remove those that violated the guidelines at a later time.  Over zealous salespersons fall into this category the most.

  • Be a real person
    Have a real profile, with a few existing connections.  I rarely connect to someone with less than 20 connections on any network, unless I already know them. Photos are a plus.
     
  • Don’t claim to be my “Friend”
    Unless you are, in which case I would know who you are.  If you are an open networker, or you’re responding to a question or discussion post that I’ve made, or we share the same LinkedIn groups, or you liked my blog posting, then that is great.  But I already know who my friends are, and I don’t like those who claim to be without merit.  Stick with facts.
     
  • Don’t try to sell me anything right away
    I know how to find people who are selling the things I want or need.  If I am not sure who you are, but need something you have, you can be sure that I’ll ask in the appropriate forum that will generate the appropriate answers.  THAT is when you can try to sell me something.
     
  • Say what you’re about
    I am willing to connect (especially on LinkedIn) for all sorts of reasons.  Make it easier on yourself by saying what your reason is.  If you happen to have a really intriguing profile, I might figure that out for myself, but why take chances that you don’t have to?
     
  • Have at least some overlap in values and/or goals
    This applies to Twitter more than the other networks, but the goal of my networks is broad diversity, not extreme contrast.  Ultimately, we are a reflection of our connections, so it behooves us to ensure that they are a fit.
     
  • Pay attention to my connection guidelines
    Particularly on LinkedIn, one can specific how one would like to be contacted.  You’d be surprised at how many times people ignore that specific information when reaching out to others.  It would probably be a good idea to pay attention to detail in this regard, if you wish to convey the idea that you can add value to a relationship.
     

And that sums up how I handle connection requests for the various networks that I am a member of…     What’s your connection strategy? 

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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009 6:23 PM by Logik!

Comments

Meg Guiseppi said:

Thanks so much for mentioning my post about Twitter, Andrew.

I like the way you've broken down your criteria for following and connecting with people on various social media.

Your category "don't try to sell me anything right away" particularly struck me. A few days ago someone I don't know asked me to join his LinkedIn network with the enticement "I thought it would benefit me to connect with you" - a red flag that he expected to be able to "pick my brain" whenever he needed, but I couldn't expect much in return. I didn't accept his invitation.

For me it's all about "give to get" networking - whether in person or online. People should approach a new professional relationship by asking how you can mutually benefit each other.

-Meg

# October 12, 2009 6:08 AM

Jim Teeter said:

Good article, well thought out.

I tend to be an Open Networker on most every social network under the beleif that its not only who you are connected to , but who they are connected to that might open that next opportunity or be the person you might be able to help. I do see your point in Facebook and am still trying to develop my strategy there.

Again thanks for the insight

Jim Teeter

http://Xeesm.com/JimTeeter

# October 12, 2009 5:41 PM

Logik! said:

Thanks, Meg

I agree that networking is all about giving that leads to getting -- this is why it has to be done in advance of your own need. If the relationship is there, the requests are not a problem.

-ASB: http://xeesm.com/AndrewBaker

# October 13, 2009 11:44 AM

Logik! said:

Thanks, Jim

It's probably going to take a while before people settle on what their social media strategy is. The rules start to become a bit more obvious with usage.

-ASB: http://xeesm.com/AndrewBaker

# October 13, 2009 11:45 AM

Deb Shinder said:

Very good points, and a great reminder that different people use social networks in different ways and that just because your request to connect is rejected or ignored, it doesn't necessarily mean anything personal. I do readily accept connection requests from business acquaintances on Facebook, but I DON'T accept the many requests I get from people whose names I don't even recognize, and who don't bother to add a message telling me who they are, how they know me and why they want to be my "friend." If you want some sort of connection with me and you don't want to do that much, you're free to follow me on Twitter. :)

# October 17, 2009 10:14 AM

Logik! said:

Hey, Deb.

Thanks for the response.   I really like your last point.  That sounds like a great approach.

-ASB: http://XeeSM.com/AndrewBaker

# October 17, 2009 10:30 PM

Fred said:

Here is a somewhat humorous approach to spam filtering that has some similarities to your article.

"The Mental Spam Filter"

http://www.samdiener.com/2009/10/why-that-guy-did-not-respond-to-your-email/

-Fred

# October 19, 2009 8:44 PM

Logik! said:

That's cool, Fred.  :)

# October 20, 2009 11:19 AM

Wendy Soucie said:

Andrew,

This is exactly the kind of info I have been pondering for a connection policy/guideline.

We both seem to be in the B2B space so I have some comfort level with how you talk about LinkedIn and how you connect. I have worked hard at customizing my invitations to reflect my intentions.  The majority of people sending invites to me do not.  

I have some tolerance for those with few connections as I do training on LI and like to help them with pointers and advice from time to time.

I am however at the point on LI that I need to craft some sort of guideline.   I figure I can't get mad if I don't state it up front.

Facebook is another story. I frustrated with the sales pitch frenzy of many MLM and info marketers on Facebook that have connected with me.  I feel that I can't be an open networker on Facebook as I am bombed with stuff multiple times/day. I have given people 5 free chances.  Meaning if the first 5 posts from you are only a pitch, I will defriend, deconnect, delink.

On Twitter - it's the pictures that get you off my list and blocked for sure. And Swearing.  

Wendy Soucie

http://xeesm.com/wendysoucie

# January 29, 2010 5:18 PM

Logik! said:

Hi, Wendy:

It is important to figure out how you want to connect for *each* network.  I'm sure that there are people who can use the same policy across all their networks, but that wouldn't work for me.

I'm glad that I've been able to help with my post, and I thank Meg for her post which started it all.

-ASB: http://xeesm.com/AndrewBaker

# February 10, 2010 12:40 AM
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About Logik!

Andrew S. Baker aka ASB aka Logik!

Andrew S. Baker is a business-savvy, hands-on IT leader with expertise in mentoring people, mitigating risk, and integrating technology to drive innovation and maximize business results. He creates competitive advantage for organizations through effective IT leadership: implementation of processes and controls, and architecture of robust business solutions.

Mr. Baker has successfully led a number of high-performance technology teams in designing, deploying and maintaining secure, cost-effective computing environments for well-known companies, including Warner Music Group, The Princeton Review, Bear Stearns, About.com, and Lewco Securities.

For over a decade, Andrew has exhibited thought leadership on technology and business topics via mailing lists, technical forums, blogs, and professional networking groups, along with contributions to podcasts, webinars, and over 20 technical/business magazine articles. He also serves on several boards and committees for non-profit organizations, and within the Seventh-day Adventist church.

His personal interests include Astronomy, Basketball, Bible Study, Chess, Comics, Computers, Family Life Ministries, Reading, Strategy/Role Playing games, and Professional Networking...

A summary of Andrew's current résumé is available here, and he can be reached on a variety of social and professional networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.