I’ve observed an interesting phenomena the last week or so with my LinkedIn account: I receive invites from one person in a single company, rapidly followed by two or three people from that same company. This morning it was people from Blum Shapiro (which, to my knowledge, I’ve never heard of and know nobody there). Before that, it was Creative Financial Staffing. Now, just as a matter of personal preference, I take a “closed networking” approach where I only connect with people I actually know or have had contact with – that wasn’t always true, but has been for quite a while. This happens occasionally with different companies, which seems like an odd pattern to me. I’m assuming this is good (word is getting out about me), but given that the invitations are generic and come out of thin air, it’s hard to know what to think.
Update (5:25PM): I sent this post along to the LinkedIn Bloggers Yahoo! Group only to find that a number of them had also received the same invitations from both companies. That’s prompted me to mark the three invitations from Blum Shapiro as “I don’t know this person”, which, if that’s done enough times by a certain number of people, can lead to very bad things happening to your LinkedIn account. I regard such tactics as connection farming, or to put it not so nicely and squarely in the bin of rubbish where it belongs, spam. I normally just archive such invitations and move on, but I feel very strongly about people who indiscriminately attempt to connect to large groups of other people with absolutely no basis for that connection.
That said, connecting with individuals because you feel you can gain something from the relationship is not bad at all – some of my connections via LinkedIn happened for exactly that reason. But have a reason – don’t just send me a generic invitation in the hopes that I’ll blindly hit “Accept” just to get you out of my hair.