The other day I accepted an invitation from a person I didn't know on LinkedIn. His profile said he was a general in the U.S. Army and worked in operations. Even had a photo of him that looked official.
Four of my colleagues were connected to him, so I figured, "What the heck?"
Shortly after I hit "Accept Invitation," I got a message from him saying how cute I was and asking if I wanted to chat via Yahoo Messenger. Really, General, or whoever you are? I promptly deleted him as a connection and sent a message to LinkedIn.
The lesson here is what LinkedIn officials have always told us: Connecting with people you don't know on LinkedIn isn't a good idea unless they are referred by a colleague or friend. The purpose of LinkedIn, after all, is to network and share information with colleagues and those with similar interests. It isn't a contest to see who has the most connections.
I don't always follow LinkedIn's advice. If I don't know the person, but he/she works for a company/organization in the healthcare or design industry that I've heard of, has a photo, and has made an attempt to fill out their profile, then I'll connect. But probably I reject about one out of every three people who send me invites.
A headline in the Wall St. Journal last week said that "There is No More Privacy." On social media, the minute you give someone access to you, you are giving up some of your privacy. For the most part, it will be okay. Just beware.
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