Yep. I’m a jerk… a snob… a ruffian (just look at my profile photo). Or maybe I’m just a little more prudent with the people I associate with in my social and professional networks than some?

Case in point:
LinkedIn is a great business-networking tool. I’ve only been a member for a short time, but from what I’ve seen, the opportunities are endless.

So, when prompted to import my contact lists from Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo, I was very particular about who I invited. Why? Heck, my retired dad doesn’t need to be in my LinkedIn network, nor does my kids’ school nurse! Call it caution – maybe respect?

So, I filtered… and filtered. I evaluated and built a strong network of contacts that had RELEVANCE to my PROFESSION and ME. I chose people that I could help and in-turn may help me. Thus, the result of the requests I sent out was somewhere around 99% acceptance. And that network grows more and more every day by my diligent research and requesting of introductions by my approved contacts to their network members – as intended (I assume).

Jump ahead a couple of months… I recently received a request to be in someone’s LinkedIn network. GREAT! But after reading it, I was somewhat surprised, because I’d never met this person. I’d never even heard of him… And to top it off, not only was this guy a complete stranger, but his request was the stock,

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. – ‘Name Namerson’”

Hmm. Completely foreign AND impersonal. Not such a great start, “Mr. Namerson.”

So, in typical “Jerky” fashion, this was my response:

Hi “Mr. Namerson,”

I have to apologize if we’ve met, but I don’t seem to remember you. This, of course could be a gross mistake on my part, but if you could remind me of how we know each other, I’d be greatly appreciative. Then, I could accept your invitation and benefit from networking together.

That said, If we haven’t met and you’d like to have me join your LinkedIn network, maybe we should get together and see if there is some common ground on which both of us can benefit.

Thanks so much for your invitation, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Andrew B. Clark

Yep. Jerk. Told ya’.

Shortly after I shot off my response, I thought, just maybe, I was a little too harsh. Maybe I was being a jerk. After all, my response wasn’t very “social” was it? I left my office that day with the expectations of never hearing from “Mr. Namerson” again…

The next morning (Saturday), my Blackberry buzzed me out of a sound sleep at 6:30 a.m. As I tried to focus on the little, glowing screen, I saw; “RE: Join my network on LinkedIn”.

Surprisingly enough, he didn’t respond just to call me a jerk. In short, “Mr. Namerson” was abashed. Sure, his response included an apology but better yet, it included the information that should have been in his initial contact:

A quick overview of his background
A logical connection to others in my professional network

He went on to list:
Benefits of being in HIS network
His purpose and interest in being in my network
Directions for fostering a relationship

This morning we met for coffee. I now have, what I would consider, a good friend and valuable asset in my professional network.

So, maybe it wasn’t such a jerky move. Maybe it made “Mr. Namerson” more aware of purposeful networking vs. number gathering.

I see people out there with 50K contacts or followers and wonder are they networking with value and purpose, or are they just gathering numbers to win some sad, strictly mental, social contest? How well can they even know 50,000 people?

What kind of networking professional are you? Do you network with value and purpose? Do your contacts feel they can trust and respect referrals from you – and vise-versa?

Please comment and let us know your thoughts. Maybe I’ll let you into my network.

Until Next time…
Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
–The Brand Chef

  1. To Brand Chef, Mr. Andrew B. Clark,

    This is how I deal with unknown requests for LinkedIn.
    I think that maybe your method is better. Patrick John

    Subj: To XXXXXXXXX about your invitation for LinkedIn, Pat O’Mahony

    1. Thank you for the invitation to “Linked-In”.
    It came at the wrong time!BR/ I am in the process of reducing my “LinkedIn contacts.

    2. There is just “Too Much Noise” for me!
    I am over whelmed with too much “Linked-In” work. It is as if: “there is too much racket and I can not hear what people are saying. It is as if: there is “Social Media Fatigue”. I am having problems with… Attention, focus and “hearing the signal through all that noise”.

    3. Reduction of LinkedIn contacts.
    I am currently limiting my “Linked-In” contacts. In fact, I am going through my contacts and dropping most of them.

    4. However, your relationship and contact is still very important to me.
    May I suggest that we correspond by the “old-fashioned way”, with telephone calls and emails? My phone number is (972) 690-3611 and my email is

    5. Yes there is also such a thing as “email fatigue” and “email overload”.
    But, at least I know how to deal with emails.

    Patrick John Patrick John O’Mahony, Sr.
    1506 Versailles Drive, Richardson, TX 75081 USA

  2. @pomahoney2 — Oh, I think you’re much more tactful than I…

    Impressive – I especially like #4.

    I never mean to offend. Being invited is always exciting, whether it the first one or the 200th But, PLEASE, show me you care and give me someone (or thing) to engage!

    Thanks for stopping by the kitchen! Hope to see more of you in the mix!

    Keep Cooking!

  3. Great post Andrew, I think its incredibly valuable to build a network that has a high level of relevancy to your market and profession. Its my opinion the more we have in common, the more we can connect from different points of view.

    Its not just about numbers, quality is always better than quantity, especially with social networking.

    Andrew, I don’t thin your response was being a jerk. It was short to the point. There is always someone that will like or dislike what you say no matter how you say it.

    Thank you for the inspiration.
    All the best,
    “Revealing Wizards Behind Curtains”