On the LinkedIn discussion groups there has been a recent rash of people complaining about receiving endorsement requests from people they don’t know, inappropriate job forwarding requests that aren’t really about jobs, and unwelcome profile updates. I have a simple solution for this:
Don’t connect with people you don’t know!
LinkedIn makes it abundantly clear that the tool is designed to be used to map and leverage your existing relationships. If you decide to permanently connect with strangers, fine, but then you have no right to complain when the tool functions as intended.
You might still receive a few uncomfortable endorsement requests, but they won’t be from people you don’t know. You might still receive an occasional unwanted profile update or inappropriate job forwarding request, but if it’s from someone you know, you’ll be more tolerant and can contact them saying that you would prefer not to receive such communications (I’ve done this a couple of times).
Patrick Fee gave one of the more eloquent (and humorous) responses to the issue:
I thought that was what made LinkedIn different than Myspace or Facebook or LiveJournal or even the grandaddy of psudo-persona-populated-places: AOL itself….the fact that we know our connections.
The idea behind LinkedIn is that we know the folk with which we are linking. Perhaps not in person…but in some sort of professional fashion. Or we trust those who introduce us to someone enough to believe the person introduced is the real deal.
If I take on faith the beautiful young lass I’m chating with on AOL is not a 40 year-old okie named Bubba who still lives at home, I deserve whatever I get. But if I suggest a connection between me and another person on LinkedIn without knowing who they are….now THAT has professional repercusions.
Which is why I personally know all of my contacts. And I don’t rely on LinkedIn to do the police-ing for me.