1. Kate

    Hi Kate,
    Enjoyed your talk last night on this topic.
    Post-event I thought of a question I had for you:
    You spoke a lot about LinkedIn. What, do you think, is an appropriate strategy for accepting invitations on LinkedIn?
    At times I feel like it’s being treated or used as another FaceBook whereby someone you may have met only once (say at a social event) invites you to connect. Or someone that you know outside your professional life, in a completely unrelated field, wants to connect with you. Should I be connecting with them to widen my reach and network, or should I save the connection with them for FaceBook, which I use as a less-professional, more social, medium? How do you think these connections could impact my LinkedIn/professional reputation?

    • Thank-you, that is a good question. Again it comes down to one’s personal preference.

      Many people on LinkedIn are open networkers (often with ‘LION’ in their bio), and they choose to accept connections from anyone. Others are very careful to keep their connections to small numbers and close connections. It depends on factors such as your personal preferences, your industry or career, your career stage. For example, if you’re at the early stages of a career you might focus on building really broad networks on LinkedIn so as to maximise career options. But people who have already established careers might choose to be more selective about their connections.

      The way I use Facebook is driven by the fact that many of my friends and family are not open networkers and don’t want to be connected to many friends-of-friends through me. I often suggest to people who are not personal connections that we should connect on LinkedIn since we have a ‘professional’ relationship. The Facebook privacy settings are also an important way that I try to protect my ‘friends’.

      My usage of social platforms is pretty much along these lines:

      • LinkedIn is for my professional connections (I need to have had some professional contact with them) – it has replaced my Rolodex full of business cards
      • Facebook is for people I know well enough to drop by their house
      • Twitter is for the people I don’t know yet but who might eventually end up as real-life connections or friends

      But I suspect it is different for other people depending upon their preferences and needs. You might want to consider your strategy in terms of:

      • personal preferences
      • career stage
      • need to keep track of contacts

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