Relationship Requests

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

What are people thinking when they send a request – through LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other social network – without a profile picture or a personal message. Ok, Ok. So you “know” the person and want to save time. Well, let me tell you something. As more and more people join these networks, circles will grow bigger and people will naturally become more and more selective. They won’t feel so compelled to accept your arrogantly lazy request.

I am not complaining about people asking to be a friend or colleague – I love networking and believe in the power of nurturing an expanding list of contacts for all of the give and take we can handle. I am moaning about people who don’t put themselves in my shoes when I consider their request. Even if we have met, remind me. Even it was just today, remind me. Don’t count on me taking the extra effort to interpret our connection.

How about an example? I love examples. If you were at a networking event – offline – would you walk up to someone and randomly say “I’d like to add you to my professional network”? Probably not. So, don’t do it online. Instead, introduce yourself or get connected through a friend. Sounds obvious, but a lot of people are not catching on. To be honest, it took me some time to get it right.

LinkedIn and Facebook are similar in that you have to make a request before establishing a relationship with someone, but tools like Twitter make this problem worse. You can follow anyone by clicking one button. That’s it – click and a one-way relationship is established. It’d be nice for once if someone mentioned why they followed me – maybe I’m asking a lot. Another example? Take this situation offline – people everywhere just start following behind you without saying one word to you. Creepy.

Here are a couple of real-life examples – learn from them, please.

1. Random, faceless request with standard message…

2. Creepy messaging on Facebook…

  1. The dynamic between real life and social media relationships is probably one of the most awkward things out there — so great topic choice…
    Because I’m in the first generation of high school kids to be allowed Facebook membership, my peers and I grew up not thinking it was weird to friend request someone at school who you’d never actually talked to [or wanted to talk to] in real life. But after making an assumption from Bill McCarthy’s picture in your example above, I don’t think this situation is limited to people under 20.
    So I think one of the main driving factors behind anonymous/creepy/awkward requests is the desire to show off our large networks.
    For some reason, people have a fear that others will look at our profiles and see that we don’t have enough friends, connections and followers. I guess it’s kind of like sitting at a cafeteria table alone in high school.
    When I was new to LinkedIn, I spent HOURS searching through the “People You May Know” tab and sending out requests. Observers can only see the quantity of connections, not the quality…
    On another, you should track the number of anonymous requests you receive over time after this post!

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