The beauty of online networking is that your friends, colleagues, clients, family, and people you need to exist effectively are within arms reach, organized and accessible whenever you need to connect. But the very thing that makes them so great, makes them a huge pain as well. If I had a dollar for every random, not-my-type, friend request I got from someone I'd be a rich (and popular) lady. Alas, popular I am, but rich I am not. Worse still, is when people who don't know me, expect me to introduce them to someone I do know.
VoIP entrepreneur and industry leader, Jeff Pulver captured it in a nutshell today:
What most people on social networks fail to recognize is that in real life "an introduction is an endorsement" and yet it seems that strangers want me to forget about this in the virtual world and just make the introduction.
I have no issue introducing two people who are friends of mine to each other but I generally hesitate blindly introducing a total stranger to a friend since I generally wouldn't want this happening to myself.
The same, common-sense rules of etiquette apply online. Direct introductions are always better. If you want to meet me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. 90% of the time I'll say yes, and I look forward to getting to know you. But I'm probably not going to introduce you to a client on LinkedIn or my hot sisters on MySpace unless I KNOW you.
Don't use me because of my connections. Ugh, now it's prom all over again…
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