68 great comments!

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

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.doe.397 Anna Doe

    The closest I came to unpleasant people on Linkedin was trying to join 2 discussion groups. There are some elitist groups there, you cannot join if you don’t have, by example, *cough” a UN email address. Given the fact that some UN departments rather give generic email addresses like intern3456@un.org to their interns, well, let’s say that trying to join a LinkedIn group aimed at current and former UN interns is like trying to greet Queen Elizabeth II. There are also academic discussion groups which can be of great help to graduate students like me, especially when the said groups discuss about the subject of your thesis. Same story there: you send a request to join the group and guess what? You get blocked by the group owner, it doesn’t matter how legit your profile is or how many recommendations you have. It feels like if you don’t have a pompous job title, well, no one has the time to give you the time of the day, even on LinkedIn. However, I must admit that I met and actually became friends with some lovely people from different continents than mine on LinkedIn. Anyway, most people think that Internet is the perfect place to be great pretenders, they just forget that a leopard cannot change its spots.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Hi Anna and thanks for sharing those experiences – no matter how painful. There are some group owners that think they are running a compound full of “importants” – not so, right? It’s just a networking group. In some ways, LinkedIn gives group owners too much power, but hey maybe it’s time to start your own! I use the power vested in me by LinkedIn to keep out true riff-raff (people and spam) and members appreciate it. But you can go too far and piss people off.

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