There are different philosophies behind LinkedIn. (What a world we live in where such a statement is even possible!) When I first signed up, it was a professional social network. Warnings boldly declared that you should accept invitations only from people you actually knew—others might hurt your career. Friends pointed out (I was unemployed at the time) that if you wanted to use the potential of connecting, you had to take risks and accept invitations from strangers. Now LinkedIn seems to be a social network just like any other, although many of the individuals on it are perhaps a bit more educated and many of them have good jobs. That doesn’t stop them from posting snarky comments and using the site as if it were Facebook.
Although I’ve met some good people through it, I’m beginning to grow wary. Or weary. Perhaps both. Now I hover with a bit of angst over that “Accept” button. Many people, mistaking me for someone with some power in my organization, immediately direct message me after accepting. I wish they wouldn’t. Many of them ask me what jobs I might be able to offer. If they’d search me out a little further on the web, they’d find the dusty path to this blog and learn a bit more about that guy they’d invited to connect. I don’t work in a hiring capacity. Bible editing isn’t exactly a growth field. But connections are connections. So I click.
Worse yet are the number of people on LinkedIn who immediately direct message you advertising their book, encouraging you to buy. I work in publishing. I know that authors have to take the initiative or find their books overlooked (believe me, I know all about that!). Still, LinkedIn is not the place to advertise your book. The buzz among publishing types (if they’d only check out to whom they’ve sent that invitation to connect) know that the social media of choice for advertising books is Twitter. Facebook is okay but if you read the kinds of comments you find on posts there you’ll see many aren’t the book-buying type. And the advice, to which this particular URL stands in silent testimony, is that starting a blog is an ideal way to build a following. Social media, it seems, isn’t really peopled too much by those who do a lot of book reading. If it were it would be a world in which you wouldn’t have to worry about LinkedIn philosophies before clicking that accept button.