Last night I spoke with the women at BG Group, KPMG, Shell, Chevron and BP. The topic was social media, and I had a chance to plug my new game changing social channel. Many of the women I engaged with were seeking answers about how to handle social media in their personal and professional lives. My key message?
Define what a connection means to you because it's very personal.
I then stepped through these slides as we spoke about the do's and don'ts of social. We spent a great deal of time telling stories about Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. At one point I had the opportunity to tell a story about LinkedIn, my non favorite network as of late, where honestly social media has gone a little wrong!
It was about a year ago I began receiving unusual LinkedIn requests. I'm an open networker and generally accept legitimate requests. This one was so wrong on so many levels I thought I'd share it. It's pretty common though and sadly is happening more as I've built an online network. Oddly though, I have to give the guys credit. If you want to a smart gal, turn to LinkedIn, right?
B E W A R E!
(Hi Dear. I am X. First of all I want to apologize for sending you this message and please don't get mad at me because is what i felt going through your photo okay. I know here is not a dating site but I must confess that your charming face and your lovely smile captured my attention ... I really wish to know pretty more about you if you don't mind. You can write to me through my email address (removed). i look forward to read from you. Stay bless and may the light of God shine all over you. Thanks.)
C R E E P Y ?!
What's worse? When I received this request last year, we shared the same GAL (global address book). In other words, he worked at my company. He didn't know how to spell and brought God into his digital pick up line. I mean did he even read the part on my profile about my being married and a mother?
I didn't respond.
What I did do was contact the four other female connections we had in common to alert them of the note and to be on the look out. And really, is it appropriate for a man who looks my Dad's age to be trolling LinkedIn for what should be something you find, ahem, elsewhere?
However this is what I was immediately thinking.
(Dear Creepy Charlie: It would appear you got LinkedIn confused with Match.com. I'm pretty sure stalking women via the corporate email system flirts with our code of conduct. Thanks.)
Does HR even think about how to handle this? We've come to a new place in the world when you have to worry about creepy charlie's using the internet to seek out employees. I didn't report him to HR but I did to LinkedIn.
As a social being and connector, I really appreciate LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and all of the wonderful ways we connect today. But just like in my offline life, there have to be boundaries in my digital life. What boundaries do you put in yours?
My favorite recent request was from a man posing to be a CEO of an energy company out of Los Angeles. Another one that had me laughing was a man who claimed he was General, Astronaut, and now a Saudi prince who needed my help.
The other LinkedIn requests I ignore are those people who want to connect and then after you approve them they send you a book on why you should buy what they are selling. This happened to me last week. The guy seemed harmless until he sent me an WIKI on a product he was selling that had nothing to do with my industry!
Before you try to sell me something, how about a cup of coffee, a phone call or a real conversation?
Friends...this is NOT networking. It's harassment. If I wanted to buy from you, I'd reach out to you. And if I was available, I'd be single first and I might be on Match.com.
And really, LinkedIn has become nothing more than a sales pitch or a recruitment grab. Every social network has its purpose. I used to write regularly for LinkedIn and have been turned off as of late given how many people out there who are publishing noise.
Have any stories about where your social networking got a little creepy? How do you define a "connection"? Have you got a "code of social media conduct" in your life?
Header photo source: Copperwebs.com