So I got a little bit of backlash from some people about posting an appeal for people to send me e-mails to LinkIn to them. I have a few things to say about the backlash:
I have a lot of contacts in my Outlook contacts that I don't know really well at all -- when I get a business card, it gets input into my contacts. LinkedIn prompted me how to upload my entire contact file into their system and then prompted me to send e-mails to all of the people that were already "LinkedIn"; some of these people I knew well and some I really didn't know at all. To date, almost everyone that I have sent a Link request to has responded back and Linked to me -- somewhere around 95% of the invites I sent out.
A lot of people that sent me e-mails about Linking are people that author blogs I read all the time or people that read my blog. In most cases, I feel like I have a very good insight into those who are blog authors think and act in business; in many cases I feel like I know them better than other people that I am friends with. In the cases where people have responded that they want to Link because they enjoy reading my blog, I feel that those people can read my posts and get a pretty good feeling about who I am and my business attitudes.
Is there the possibility that someone happened upon my blog by simply searching for LinkedIn connections? Sure, it's possible. But note that I asked for any of those people looking for Links to send me their profiles so that I could see their background, work history, etc. if I was not familiar with them.
The simple fact of the matter is that I got a little of responses from a lot of blog authors whose blogs I read on a daily basis; in some cases I did not actually know the author's full name and would not have been able to search for the person to create the Link through the LinkedIn system -- that would be like searching for "Ross" and hoping that you stumbled upon me. Other of the responses that I got were from readers and I was able to see how many degrees away from the person that I was based on Links that I already have -- the degrees and backgrounds of the people were what made the decision as to whether or not I wanted to be Linked to them.
Did I subvert the system a little bit? Sure I did -- most of the people that I linked to I could have reached as a 3rd or 4th degree connection via some people that I am already Linked to. Do I like seeing more connections to myself? I'm not going to lie: sure I do.
The questions was asked as to whether I would feel comfortable endorsing or referring any of the people that responded. I would ask how many times you have endorsed or referred someone's child as a favor to the parent without really spending time getting to know the child. The answer to the initial question for me is that it depends. If I read the person's blog and feel like I have a good insight into the person, I would probably happily refer or endorse them and note that as being the reason. If I didn't really know the person, I would probably have some dialogue with them (much as I do every time someone asks me to refer or endorse their child) and decide my comfort level on referring or endorsing them.
Does any of this mean that I did the right thing with that post? No, it doesn't mean I'm right, but everything above is my argument as to why it was not wrong.