Every day, I get LinkedIn notifications from people that want me to add them to my network of contacts; those generic messages from people I don’t know asking me to open up my list of contacts that was so hard for me to build. My answer is always the same: If I don’t know when and they haven’t even taken the time to introduce themselves and explain to me why it would be good for me to add them to my network, I deny the request.
Just as happens with everyone who uses these social media sites, I also get a list of suggested contacts or people I may know that they send out frequently, and often I do take a look. If I see a name that interests me, I take time to write them a note detailing where we met, why we should connect, etc.
Professional social networking sites like LinkedIn are great when your contacts are high quality, in other words, that aside from all being in key positions within various organizations or companies, that they’re people that know you and that you know. Otherwise, if you need Marta (your contact) to connect you with one of her contacts, but Marta doesn’t know you, it’ll be difficult to get her to help you. And conversely, what could happen is that Jorge, a contact you don’t know, asks you to connect him with Andrea, who is one of your excellent contacts, you won’t be able to do it (or should not do it) because you can’t really certify that Jorge is someone worth recommending. In other words, when you have a great number of people in your professional social media network that you don’t know and you receive frequent requests from them to connect with the contacts that you truly value, you are jeopardizing your reputation and risk losing those contacts.
That’s why it’s so important to value that precious network of professional contacts you have built. This type of platform should not be a popularity contest, as other social networking sites tend to be, where the main objective is to get as many contacts or followers as possible–without regard to who they are.
Refusing to open your valuable network to strangers is not arrogance. It’s understanding that the quality of each one of your contacts depends on how powerful and effective your network is for you and for those who are part of it.
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This article was originally published in Mamás Latinas