A few days ago, I had a member of one of my networking groups send me an email completely out of the blue. It was nice enough. He introduced himself, told me about what he did, and asked if we could set up a time to chat on the phone. Ok, nothing out of the ordinary with any of this. This happens quite often, and I always like the opportunity to meet fellow business owners. So, I wrote him back to see what his schedule looked like.
As I always do when I meet someone new, I also invited him to join me on LinkedIn. Not a big deal on my part. Well, I received a curt message back from him stating that we didn’t know each other well enough to be connected on LinkedIn. Hunh, or more like WTF?
Of course, as I read this I muttered to myself, “Up yours! You were the one who initiated the conversation in the first place.” I then took a deep breath and wrote back in a kind fashion that I was simply trying to add him to my list of contacts that I keep on this social media platform.
This dork made me feel for a hot second like a Viagra-hustling spammer instead of a legit business owner who he reached out to. Then I came to my senses. Trust me! I have no intention of scheduling a phone chat with him now. A little too much nonsense too early in the relationship.
Anyway, this rather bizarre business situation must not be all that unique. I’m sure countless others must wonder if they should or shouldn’t reach out to someone on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. How do you balance being proactive with social media without looking like an over-eager nerdy high school kid who wants to be friends with everyone? How do you deal with someone who snubs you like what this guy did? And, how do you manage all of this graciously when there are no set rules?
I don’t have any good answers. Right now, my personal rule of thumb is that I only use LinkedIn for those who I meet in a business capacity. And, Facebook has both my business and personal contacts. On Twitter, I mostly follow those who might Tweet interesting links worth reading.
Obviously, my passive aggressive networking buddy who declined my invitation on LinkedIn has some other guidelines for himself that I wasn’t aware of. He is more selective, and I guess this is his choice. However, he may want to reconsider sending out unsolicited emails to other business owners if he has such a stringent social media policy.
While I can’t expect everyone to take the come one, come all approach to these sites that I generally have, I also shouldn’t be subjected to having to decipher mixed messages from those who have different social media rules.
So, nothing resolved here, but an interesting dilemma that must be becoming increasingly common. If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, go for it. I probably won’t turn you down. Unless, you have some Viagra you’re trying to sell me.