My answer was a complicated no.
My general rule of thumb is that if our paths have crossed, I've met you at a function, worked with you, went to school with you, or are connected because of blood lines I will say yes.
But what if I don't? What if you are a complete stranger reaching out? What do I do then?
There is no hard and fast rule. And while I generally do not like to ignore anyone, (I think it's rude and bad karma) in the digital world I sometimes do.
The question is, how do I make that decision?
The answer is, it's really pretty easy.
If I've ignored an invitation you sent to me the reasons are most likely one or a combination of those on this list:
- I've never met you.
- We have no connections in common.
- You don't have a picture in your profile.
- Your profile says nothing about you.
- You lied to me and to LinkedIn and said we were friends and then admitted to me you lied.
- You did not personalize your invitation.
- You personalized it with something to the tune of "I think it would be good to connect" without a reason why it might be good to connect.
- We share nothing in common. Not a group. Not a person. Not an industry.
- It's looking like the only reason you want to connect is to sell me something.
LinkedIn is about my business. I'm there to expand it, to network, to share useful information and to find information I might find useful. Which means I am going to be thoughtful - maybe even a bit choosy at times - about who I want in my circles.
So if you want me to connect with you and you're a stranger give me a reason to want to engage with you. Tell me who you are. Show me your face. Let me know why you think connecting will be a good thing. For both of us.