As a PR consultant, I’m used to meeting people in various industries, as well as the media covering those sectors. Manufacturing, retail, leisure or healthcare, you name it, I’ve always had a genuinely interesting and varied working life.
And of course, it’s great to stay in touch with these people, who’ve been fantastic contacts, clients and colleagues over the years and hopefully many of us will support each other again in the future.
As a freelancer, I network a fair amount and again, these contacts are invaluable for me and my business. Continuing contact face to face and online with people I’ve met or worked with is both useful and enjoyable and LinkedIn (as well as Twitter) is one of the best ways to do this.
But, where does this ‘have to build a network at any cost’ mentality that seems to be everywhere, come from? Particularly on LinkedIn, I think it should be about known and, ideally, trusted contacts. I’ve had more than my fair share of invitations from complete strangers who give no reason as to why we should be connected, other than what can only be their desire to have 500+ connections.
I realise it’s nothing new, but people claiming to be a ‘friend’ or ‘colleague’ or to have ‘done business’ with me at a company I’ve never heard of, are now on the receiving end of my delete button. If I’m unsure then I’ll send a polite email checking the connection out, but most of the time I and they know full well that they’re simply playing a numbers game.
I wouldn’t mind if they sent an email saying why we should be connected or if appropriate, suggesting coffee or meeting face to face at an event, but they usually never do.
So, I may not have the 500+ or whatever other status some aspire to, but I do know the people I’m connected to and that is just fine with me.