Do I know you?

I am proud to say I am still on speaking terms with a good sized handful of people with whom I’ve punched the clock over these past 25 years or so.

I know the days of keeping a Rolodex and business card files are over and that there are more than a few websites that can complete this task digitally.

In the old days (maybe not that old, I’m referring to the pre  social media 90s), if someone gave you a business card it may have been preceded by a handshake and some sort of an introduction. The same case applied for phone calls, of course minus the handshake.

From time to time I get invitations from people to connect on LinkedIn. I really enjoy it when it’s someone I know, someone I’ve worked with, someone who fate has delivered to these weekly rants, or someone I’ve gone to school with asks to connect.

I even like receiving invites from people who know people who know people I know. Heck, I’ve sent a few of those invitations myself.

Here is my quandary.

Every now and then, I get invitations from people I don’t know. Not contacts of contacts, or friends of friends – total strangers. This wouldn’t be so bad if these prospective contacts would provide some context beyond the generic “I’d like to add you to my network”.

Why?

Do you want to add me because you want to sell me something? Do you want to get the skinny on my gig? Were you also disciplined in the mid 70s by the nuns at St. Nicks? Did you too get your hair cut at Sonny’s on Kentucky Avenue back in AC? Were you also bent over on Marshall Street puking after a prolonged Happy Hour at Maggie’s? Have you read these ramblings and you want to connect so you’ll have uninterrupted access for those times when you’ve run out of sleeping pills?

Please, give me something!

I’m not averse to social media. In fact, it’s the channel through which I’m communicating as we speak. I guess my grey hairs get in the way of my totally embracing the concept of “connecting” with a total stranger – with no context, no digital handshake, no cyber Hiya John, let’s be pals!

Oh well! I guess I’ll go back to alphabetizing my old business cards!

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4 comments

  1. Sandra McLeod Humphrey

    You’re not alone! I’m slowly (very slowly) becoming acclimated to all the social media websites (their numbers seem to be increasing exponentially and I don’t even try to keep up), but I miss the authenticity of the good old handshake and the 1:1 contacts in person (no offense to skype). Love your blog!

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  2. Allen P.

    I know how you feel- seems odd not to make contact 1:1. However, I used to be pretty introverted, still am to an extent, and social media has given some skills that has helped me in my photography work to meet new people. Also, been able to express my personality more through my blogs, dullesdog.blogspot.com and blog.allenpearsonsphotos.com

    As far as accepting invitations from others? I check their bio and see if they are in the industry that fits mine or would be along with mine. And I usually accept.

    Found you through LinkedIn. Glad I followed your link. Enjoyed your writing.

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  3. Michael Charney (@BeckIsALib)

    I, too, get strange invitations; usually a little digging (twitter profile, FB timeline) can tell you if it’s spam, sporn, or selling. Sometimes, though, people have just changed their names (gotten married?), or just remember something you’ve forgotten. I’ve reconnected with many old friends this way, and so tend to err on the side of acceptance: you can always block/unfollow, etc., if it works out badly.

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  4. Larry Smith

    I get those invites all the time, too, from people I don’t know. I never knew why until one time when I was searching for a former colleague on LinkedIn. There was a box on my page that said something like “Would you like to connect with friends of your existing connections?” I clicked on this supposed link thinking it would take me to a page where I could search for people -similar to viewing a friend’s friend list on Facebook. Instead, it said “we have sent invitations to connect.” Apparently it somehow sent invitations to the connections of everyone of my connections. There was nothing I could do to stop it. Within hours are started getting confirmations from a bunch of people I knew and a bunch I didn’t know. Then I got messages saying “Do I Know You?” To which I replied “sorry, LinkedIn went crazy and did this without my consent.” So next time you get a request from a stranger, it might just be the same situation that I was in.

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