The Challenge of Writing One Original Sentence.

I was having an interesting discussion recently on LinkedIn about whether or not you accept people who invite you to connect with no personal message other than “I would like to add you to my network on LinkedIn.”

Apparently in the eyes of some, ignoring this message is egotistical. That we’re passing up potential opportunities for business. That we’re navel-gazing and only care about ourselves.

How dare we get so high and mighty to ignore the invitation from a faceless person who has no ability to write one original sentence other than the template given.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Are we being social or are we social networking? There’s a difference. Because if we’re striving to create satisfying, mutually beneficial relationships, the initiating party should show they give a damn beyond collecting one more name. This is kind of like the person who comes up to me at a networking event, talks 100% about what they do, gives me a business card and then leaves (I swear this has happened to me more than once and it’s probably happened to you).

Here’s the next argument: “You need to be clear about who you want to deal with in your intro.” Ah, but I do. And yet, I still get these blanket intros. Which is expected when you have millions of people on a social network, I suppose. But this is about taking back ownership and control of your circle of who you want to deal with and who you don’t. And somehow, saying “No” to a person who makes absolutely no effort to show they value your acceptance of the introduction one way or another is…being snobby? Really?

“I saw your website.”

“I read your book.”

“I read your profile.”

“I’m a friend of ____.”

“We share a Group.”

“I’m a Chicago Bears fan like you.”

ANYTHING. This is…hard? This is considered expecting too much of people?

Well, put me in the camp of greater expectations of my fellow man and woman. On LinkedIn and elsewhere.

I’d say the people who accept everyone and anyone need to re-evaluate themselves and their relationships more. It’s not being snobby. It’s part of being a professional. It’s part of striving to achieve strategic partnerships instead of being Connection Collectors.

Deeper business relationships aren’t born from a template.