Exposing LinkedIn Connection Myths – Part VII

Connecting to thousands of people you don’t know is the best way to meet people and learn new things!

Continuing with really nice sounding arguments on why connecting indiscriminately is the best strategy – who doesn’t want to meet new people and learn new things?!?

In order to support this statement, one would have to be able to say that other mechanisms of meeting people and learning things are less effective than LinkedIn.

I mean – if you can meet 100 new people, and learn 25 new things by doing activity A (in some amount of time) and can meet 1000 new people and learn 400 new things by doing activity B (in some similar amount of time) you might be able to support this statement.  If you can’t, well – that’s just an opinion, isn’t it?

Secondly, we’d have to be able to say that the meeting of people and the new ideas learned are constructive in some way.  It’s easy to learn things by reading the encyclopedia, but I don’t know many people that spend their time just flipping through the pages. (Though since I grew up before the information superhighway, I did spend some of my youth doing just that, though it was more like “skimming for something interesting”…)

So let’s check this out!

Meeting people

Ok – let’s get to it.

I’d like you to spend 30 minutes standing on the busiest street corner and introducing yourself to everyone that walks by – and asking if it would be ok if you synced up your little black books.

Come on – these are people you don’t already know, so you’re meeting fresh new people!

And where else could you possibly meet them?  They’ve got to have interesting stories, don’t they?

Only the ones interested in you

Well let’s reverse this then – perhaps it isn’t worth your time to go out and meet random people – how about you only talk to the ones that have an interest in you.  The ones that come up and say “Hi – you don’t know me, but I think we should have the chance to meet and share our little black books!”

They clearly have an interest in you, so it’s got to be worth your time, isn’t it?

New ideas

Ok, even if you might spend some time with people that are of no interest to you, it’ll be worth it if you get exposed to new ideas, right?

I mean these are random people that have an interest in you – they’ve got to have some good ideas, don’t they?

Maybe ideas about:

  • How their product will help you
  • A partnership that has great benefits to both of you
  • Why you might want to hire them
  • When their IPO goes public
  • And where they expect the next big breakthrough

Ok – maybe I’m being a bit harsh here – I’ll back off – Maybe you could get some really great new ideas on lots of different topics.

And those ideas are available nowhere else than by meeting random strangers and sharing your little black book with them.

And that will be worth all of the time you’ll spend on it…

And something you can’t duplicate in any other way…

A bit of Friday here

So – re-reading my own words, I can see I’ve got a whole lot of sarcasm embedded in this article.

It’s just that the statement is made with no support and when you really look at it, you’ve got to wonder, don’t you?  Do you really have to “connect” on LinkedIn to meet new people or get exposed to interesting ideas?

So let me offer an alternative use of LinkedIn…

Meeting people though an introduction

I definitely think LinkedIn is a great way to meet people you don’t know – through an introduction.

“Tom, would you introduce me to Mary, I think we could talk about …”

And now Mary gets introduced to me through someone she knows and trusts – and isn’t dealing with a stranger.

Meeting people though groups

LinkedIn groups are another way you can meet people – and you do that without connecting directly.

The group environment includes mechanisms to share messages and get exposure to the everyone within the group in a non-threatening way.

Communicating outside of LinkedIn

And lastly – there’s no reason two people can’t converse over email, twitter, bulletin boards, LinkedIn groups, and blogs – to build a relationship.

You can communicate without connecting (see part II of this myth series).

A better use of your time

So while I see people suggesting it all over the place, I don’t see much in the way of proof that connecting indiscriminately is of much help.  Sure, you can receive unsolicited message from people you don’t know, and you could even spam people that don’t know you, but where’s the proof that it’s helpful?

But hey – one person has said it’s helped them immensely – and that’s got to count for something, doesn’t it?

If you have picked up some information that you could not possibly have learned without connecting indiscriminately please let me know – I absolutely would love to hear how often that happens compared to how much time it takes to sort through all of the extra stuff!

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock