Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LinkedOut


Sometimes, being too connected is too much.

For a couple of years, now, I've had a LinkedIn account and have met some really fabulous people. I've read many, many articles and have joined and started several discussions about writing and photography. It's been great.

To date, I have 632 connections that link me to more than 6.6-million "professionals."

That's a helluva lotta people.

Too many, I think, and not just the 6.6-million LinkedIn people. I mean the 632.

When I connected to the first hundred people, they were mostly friends and people I had worked with at past jobs, and people I currently work with. But then I joined some writers and photographer groups, and I connected with individuals from those groups, mostly those who started interesting discussions or participated in them. When my number of connections was a couple of hundred, I still felt I knew these people (knew them enough to want to converse with them). Many of those folks became my Twitter "friends," and I still follow them.

But after about 300 or so connections, I started losing track of who was who. I would reach out to connect with people who shared group affiliations or who wrote; I would accept invitations with almost anyone who wanted to connect with me. The only time I refused an invitation was when it seemed like we had nothing in common. If someone's profile held grammatical or spelling errors, or looked like little effort was put into it, I declined the invitation. And if the person lacked a photo, I passed (I like putting a face to a professional connection).

I'm now connected to so many people that I don't really have the time to start a rapport, to read any of their posts, or to engage in a discussion.

For a couple of months, I've only used LinkedIn to gain more connections. Sure, I place my blog posts in LinkedIn, but I don't actually go into LinkedIn to do it. As with Facebook, I announce my new blog posts through HootSuite. So LinkedIn is becoming more and more a one-way street.

And that's not fair to people who connect with me. It's really not fair to people with whom I've established an online friendship.

And so, over time, I'm going to start culling my connections. Don't get me wrong: it's nothing personal, it's just that I don't have time to pay attention to all of you. Some of you must go.

I'm going to keep everyone with whom I've interacted. I'm going to keep everyone that I've actually met. But if we've never shared anything beyond a "thanks for following me" message, I'm going to say goodbye. It's not you; it's me.

Because saying that we're connected isn't exactly true. If you've become a follower of my blog because of LinkedIn, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you enjoy reading it, I hope that you continue to do so. But I'm no longer announcing new blog posts through LinkedIn. And, until I get my numbers down, I won't be participating in discussions.

For the next little while, I'm LinkedOut.

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