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Don’t Be A Jerk On Linkedin

    social information processing, world wide web, linkedin open networker, online social networking, human interest, stink bombs, community websites, social media, web 2.0, business development, collaboration, linkedin, nice, tempt, jerk, successfully, sarcastic, connections, subject Do you smell something?

Every once in a while I have an interaction on LinkedIn that I simply can’t explain.  I work back through how it all got started, tracing my steps, my comments and the way that I attempted to reach out to someone.

I did it right. 

I wanted to meet someone on LinkedIn to ask them a question about a new project I’m working on. Perhaps they could help? I used another connection to get introduced and wrote a short note to explain my interest and how it might benefit them. It was personable and asked only for a quick phone call to explain.

This person does business development for his company.  I wanted to do business with them and he had no interest.  In fact, he pushed me away with a sarcastic comment about how he couldn’t think of a thing we could talk about.  And, instead, suggested (jokingly) that talking about the NCAA final four might be more worth our time. Jerk (too harsh?).


I did it right because I know how much I appreciate the little things like personal connection requests, well-written recommendations and people who strive to use LinkedIn the right way.

In fact I write on LinkedIn tips often enough that I am acutely aware that I need to do it right myself.  Or at least try as hard as I can to be thoughtful as I grow or communicate with my network.

I won’t bulk email my connections on LinkedIn because I want a note from me to be more personal than that.

So when I go out of my way to purposefully connect with someone and get attitude or overt sarcasm, I want to slap those people with a rubber chicken or borrow a pack of stink bombs from my kid’s closet and throw down a firestorm.

So my message to you people who act with arrogance, ignorance or find fun in spitting your sarcastic static toward others (jerk), I have one thing to say:

You stink.

Have you ever faced a stinky person on LinkedIn?  Someone who acts as if your simple request is such a burden that they need to let you have it?

Here’s the profile of a stinky person, a jerk, using LinkedIn:

  • They’ve never really needed to use LinkedIn – they just collect connections like seashells and tuck them away in a drawer.
  • They’ve never been out of work before, never been a sales person or someone who, at least in part, uses LinkedIn to ask for help in some way.
  • They don’t understand that not everyone wants or needs a sarcastic comment.  Or they don’t score high on EQ tests (emotional intelligence).

Now please understand.  There are so many using LinkedIn the wrong way that I’m sure many have been burned.  They’ve experienced the old bait and switch enough that they just don’t trust people any more.

If you’ve been bitten in this way, here’s my advice:

  • Don’t give up on people.  Don’t throw out the baby with the stinky bath water.
  • Respond to any connection request that’s written purposefully and personally.  At least try to see how you can help.
  • Go to the person’s profile and read their bio to see if they are legitimate (or are trying to be).
  • Read their recommendations and see if others seem to like them
  • Because . . .

Someday.  I promise.  You’ll need us.  So play nice.

What’s your advice?  And what experiences shape your connection policy and interactions on LinkedIn?

Thanks Brianfit for the great photo via Flickr

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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