The emperor has no clothes, people.
Are you with me?
Or are you one of those people on LinkedIn who has thousands of connections, few of whom you really know anything about?
I try to stay relevant. But a recent mishap makes me wonder why many of us are not more persnickety about our online circles.
I was adding what were supposed to be just a couple of connections to my LinkedIn account. And, I kid you not, my large black Labrador retriever nudged my elbow just as I was clicking to add them. So, instead of clicking to add just two people, I invited every single person I’ve ever interacted with via e-mail to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Ugh. Imagine this: every PTA parent you’ve ever been cc’d on an e-mail with, your husband’s proctologist (Ok, not in my case but think of the possibilities), the person you met at a friend’s cocktail party to whom your friend willingly offered up your email (a karmic act you’re sure she is still paying for), the receptionist at your local salon . . . the list goes on.
Not so horrible if you think, like I did, that most people will ignore your invitation unless they actually a) know you, b) have interacted with you and c) therefore know you are not psychotic, rude, lazy or incompetent.
Soooo not the case.
Thus far, my invitation to connect has been accepted by everyone from the head of housekeeping at the hotel I stayed at for my son’s chess tournament, to the woman who runs the perfume counter at Neiman Marcus and sends me annoying e-mails when she thinks I must have run out of fragrance.
I am sure these people do not remember me. I am sure connecting with me on LinkedIn will not further their careers. And yet, they accepted my invitation.
Why? Because it’s a numbers game for a lot of folks. And that’s the “naked” bit, for those of you reading this before you’ve had your morning coffee.
I’ve also had some very credible people who I’ve interviewed for articles in the past or had work dealings with accept my invitation. Great. But what the heck are all the others thinking?
Would you say yes to a near total stranger at a party who asked you to walk around with him, introduce him as your friend and vouch for his proficiency in accounting, sales or whatever his pursuit of choice is?
No. Well, if any of you psychotics out there who accepted my accidental invitation to connect are reading this, you might. But the rest of us would not. (And I mean actual psychotics. I’ve seen figures of about 1 percent on average in our population. Based on the volume of invitations I sent out, there have to be at least one or two psychotics in the bunch. Which does not bode well for me.)
So if we would deny the random stranger at a party, why are we welcoming him online?
Out of hundreds of invitations sent, only one person—ONE person—has come back to me and said, “Kristine, I think we’ve met. But I’m not sure. Can you clarify?”
And him I applaud. All except for the part where he equated my “dog nudged my elbow” story to the “dog ate my homework” story. I guess I still applaud him. It was pretty clever.
So, as I spend hours paring my list of connections back down to only those who can at least pronounce my name correctly, I ponder. And shake my head in complete disbelief.
He really IS naked, people. I promise. Especially if he has thousands of connections on LinkedIn. Nobody gets around that much. Not even a naked emperor.