Last week I linked to Thom Singer’s brilliant post about LinkedIn, and got almost as many comments in that one post as he’s had in his entire blog history (commenters on his or other’s posts include Carol Deckert, Scott Ingram, Jonathon Morgan, Aruni Gunasegaram, Josh Greene, Liz Handlin, Darlene McDaniel, James Seay, Mark Herpel)) 🙂 He hit a real sore spot, and was dead-on. Go read his post: LinkedIn Rant – And A Challenge To Bloggers.
There are two responses that I’m reading, one is “Yes Thom, you are so right!” and the other is “Thom, you are using LinkedIn wrong!” Thom’s post quickly explains his personal connection policy on LinkedIn (which is pretty much what LinkedIn suggests, and Scott Allen endorses). But that’s not the point of Thom’s post, as far as I read. His point is that the guy who invited him, and got declined, tried to “school” him, telling him HOW Thom should use LinkedIn.
And this is what one of my beefs is. I have been involved in LinkedIn and various e-mail lists centered on LinkedIn for over a year, and it still amazes me how people are preaching how you need to use LinkedIn.
Why do I say “preach?” Because the tone that I read in these e-mails or posts is authoritive…. and there is so much passion about a certain position that people seem to be defending a religion! Here’s a short position on where I stand on two preach-worthy topics:
- Quality vs. Quantity: this is the undying debate about which is better, a huge network with thousands of first degree connections (quantity), or a small network only made up of people that I “know and trust” (quality). Well folks, different people need different things! But don’t tell me where I should stand on this spectrum! You have your own policy, and let it go at that! I find that recruiters, business development professionals, small business owners and the like are more inclined to have a more open policy on connecting with people that they “just met,” as opposed to people that they know and trust. Wrong or right? I think it depends, and I’m not going to tell you where you should fall. Please don’t tell me.
- LinkedIn vs. Facebook (and the others): Which is better, which is worse? Which is going to be around, and which is going to be outdated next week? Come on folks, are you serious? First, how important is this debate? You can take all of 60 minutes to flesh out your LinkedIn profile and then really never go back, and still possibly get value out of it. Every week take a few minutes and accept some invitations. It’s not like we’re talking about investing 20 hours a week here. Should you get on Facebook? Why not? Probably 85% of my Facebook network is made up of business professionals, and the students that are connected to me are very business or career oriented. Do either suck my time? NO. Am I there, in the right spot, at the right time? Could be. If I’m not there I might miss out – and all it took was about 60 minutes to set up a decent profile. Don’t get social-network-religous on me and preach to me about which is the true social network, and I’ll go to hell if I am on the other one (okay, it hasn’t been that strong, but it sure feels like it sometimes!).
This preaching is tiring and boring. Seriously – give it a rest. Thom got preached to and he read right through it – I’m glad he put up that post, and I know he’s not alone in his frustration.
If you are an evangelist for one or the other, or one method or another, slow down and consider what message people are really hearing from you. And if you get preached to, I suggest you just ignore it. Debating or “discussing” really isn’t worth the time it takes. (of course, if you are a blogger, blog on it … it makes blog reading more fun 🙂 :))