LinkedIn Ettiquette

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Periodically, one of my friends discovers LinkedIn and then the conventional thing seems to be to invite everyone you know, like this:
Lisa Dusseault has invited you to become a connection. Lisa will also become your connection.

Invitation date: April 11, 2006

Lisa's note:

I found you while I was searching my network at LinkedIn. Let's connect directly, so we can help each other with referrals. If we connect, both of our networks will grow. To add me as your connection, just follow the link below.

- Lisa

Anyway, I don't really use LinkedIn for my own contacts, but somehow it feels rude to just ignore these messages or (horrors!) reject them. So, despite myself I've ended up with a fairly extensive contact list. What now?


I see this as a related problem to IM invites. What is the social norm for rejection of someone asking to add you to their buddy list. Actually, a bigger problem -- when you've accepted someone onto your buddy list, what is the protocol for removing them subsequently? I tend to get work-related dingbats on my IM buddy list, and/or asking for invites via LinkedIn or other 6-degrees things. Generally, for 6-degrees sites, whether I use them or not, I generally just ignore the invite if the person is a dingbat; if they then email me and say "why didn't you accept me yet", I just reply that I don't really use 6-degrees sites much (which is true) and leave them un-linked.

My criterion for 6-degrees linkage is "would I ask this person for a favor" or "would I recommend this person for someone to hire" which covers both professional and personal contact filtering.

I think that this is all a sign that the systems are broken.

I don't want to have many folk on my IM buddy list. I certainly don't want to be managing large numbers of contacts.

What I would want is some form of affinity group scheme so I can get some abstractions in there. So have an affinity group 'IETF type people' and agree those people can contact me, by which I mean their requests for contact do not go straight in the bit bucket, not that they can pop up an IM on my machine.

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