I'm on Linkedin. I've been on there for a long time. I joined because I didn't know what it was for and, as is typical of me, figured the best way to learn was to join. Honestly, I still have not really figured out how to use Linkedin and I'm left with a pressing question, "How do you respond to a 'Linkedin friend request' from someone you don't know?"
I ask because I have a bunch of friend requests piling up in Linkedin from people that I don't know. I always thought Linkedin was for connecting with people you worked with or people you did business with in the past. It wasn't like Twitter where you follow people because they look interesting.
Quick side note: I am apparently a much more interesting person to follow now that I'm a C-level executive. On top of my new found popularity the spam I receive is also so much more fascinating. The many offers to buy email addresses of people I could then spam are particularly twisted.
So what do I do? I thought Linkedin provided a way to customize the introduction message sent with the "friend request". If any of these people had customized the message then perhaps there would be some hint how I should know them or why we should be "friends". As it is I'm stuck with a name, usually a picture and the generic "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."
Currently my thinking is to decline all these requests from unknowns. I hope that isn't completely the wrong thing to do on Linkedin.
So, if I decline your Linkedin request, please don't take personal offense. Instead drop me a comment here and remind me when we worked together. I'll even entertain pitches on why we should be friends on Linkedin. Who knows, maybe you and I are long lost friends we never knew we were missing.
In the meantime, keep on coding. You know I am.