Here is why I did not accept your connection request.
[This post originally appeared as a LinkedIn article on 28 September 2022.]
Like many of my colleagues on LinkedIn, every week I receive a ton of connection requests, mostly from people I have never met before. If you are one of those, you probably noticed that I did not accept your request. It is nothing personal, but I feel like I owe you an explanation.
I have always firmly believed in the power of LinkedIn, which, at its core, is the amplification of the "network effect". In today's overcrowded and overhyped world of social media platforms, I believe LinkedIn still stands out specifically because of this differentiation.
The best feeling I can have is being able to say, "Yes, of course!", when someone in my network asks me to introduce them to someone else in my network. And vice versa.
However, a long time ago I stopped counting how many times I would ask someone in my network to connect me to someone else in their network and received the reply, "Uh, sorry. I know I'm connected to them on LI, but honestly I've never even met them and wouldn't feel comfortable making any intros." Huh? That just kills the "network effect" that is the core of LinkedIn.
I think too many of us get caught up in the social media hype to boost "our numbers" and focus more on the number of connections we have rather than on the quality of those connections. I know I am certainly guilty of that, since I went through a period where I accepted every connection request that hit my inbox.
Not any more.
For the past few years, I have been sticking to my strict requirement that any new connection on LinkedIn must be someone with whom I have at least interacted in some way. I need to know that our two life paths crossed at some point, however briefly, so that later I can tap into that shared experience when I try making a meaningful connection for you or someone else in my network.
Again, it is nothing personal. It is just my way of preserving the value that I derive from the LinkedIn community.
So ... if you and I have never met, please do not expect me to accept your cold connection request. Instead, try finding some other way of interacting with me, whether it is via a direct message or an intro via someone with whom I am already connected. This is not an ego trip, but rather a way to encourage you to build your own network in a productive way.
I truly value every individual connection in my LinkedIn network and look forward to continuing to foster these relationships!