2014-01-20

The 7 Odd Types of LinkedIn Contacts

Ever since the dot-com boom in the last century, people have sought out to enhance their business presence by using online mediums. It comes to no surprise to anyone, with the emergence of Social Media  as a defacto medium of human communication a few years ago, that the torch would be handed-on to this new age channel. LinkedIn came to be during this gold rush, immediately sweeping away the competition for an array of reasons that, unfortunately, I am not about to cover in this piece.
As popularity of this social channel grew, in came pouring the tutorials and lessons on how to best tailor your profile for maximum exposure by all the wannabe self-proclaimed gurus of the social web.This is not one of those.
Instead I propose to lead you with me on a discovery mission of the 7 odd types of people that usually will add you as a contact along with their modus operandi.



  1. The Hoarder:
    a.k.a the collector is someone who goes around on LinkedIn adding random people to his contacts or accepting every single contact request they receive. They never bother to introduce themselves or explain why they are adding you. A dead-giveaway is that they have always "indicated you are a friend". A more sophisticated breed of collectors call themselves LIONs (Background music: Katy Perry's Roar) which stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. Recognizable by the OpenLink icon, they justify in a million and one ways why they need to have 5000 contacts and how they are actually creating synergy from this.
     
  2. The Student: 
    The student usually seeks out managers, CEOs and HR people to connect to. Their profile is normally too empty (no shame in that) and they try way too hard to fill it in with tiny summer jobs, irrelevant random experiences and every single project they ever completed during their study years. I have no idea why, but I kept having images of baby seals while I was writing these last two sentences.
    Original Image Credits

  3. The Recruiter:
    These people exist on a different level of awareness. They are the modern day online equivalent of the early hunters who just happen to also be gatherers. They seek out the keywords they badly need to fill that vacant job. It doesn't matter if your profile had those keywords in a job you occupied over 8 years ago, they'll still roll the dice on you. Who knows, maybe you are up for it?
    Their hidden superpower resides in the fact that they can go through your list of contacts faster than a pyramid scheme would part a fool from his money.

    A classical recruiter approach aimed at
    rummaging through one's contacts

     
  4. The Bimbo (applies to female or males equally)
    I tried really hard to use a more imaginative wording, such as "Photogenically Centered Person", "Wardrobe Challenged Individual" but the truth of the matter remains that these upstanding members of society prefer to prance around in skimpy clothing on their LinkedIn profile throwing out of the windows any professional credibility their credentials might have. I am sorry, but unless you are setting up your account in order to find specific opportunities in that area of expertise, I won't give you the time of day when you add me on LinkedIn even if you work in a Telecom or Financial Company.

    Sorry to disappoint you boys and gals
    I know you were waiting for the pic
          
  5. The Fake Profile
    If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck (and thanks to Instagram  makes a face like a duck) it's probably a duck. Fake profiles are often easy to spot. Stock images used for profile pictures, filled with pre-canned catch phrases for describing some experiences and usually pushing identical updates to some other profiles out there. Here's a news flash for you, there is something called Google Image search, your stock photo is not gonna fly here nor will your "big clumsy model hands" (see picture)

    An example of Fake Profile using a model's picture
    off the internet (read upwards)
      
  6. The Offshore IT Sales Pitch Person
    These LinkedIn members usually share a, more or less identical, geographical area very rich in IT (or Telecom) talents and skills. It is enough to accept one person as a contact and you will receive dozens of identical people adding you and offering up their offshore services. Sure, I run a business that requires IT services, and there's nothing I would enjoy more than discovering new ways to reduce expenses but this is just plain ridiculous. The cost of the man-hours spent fending off these contact requests outweighs any savings than I might stand to do.
    One of many similar pitch emails.
    Approve one and you'll get flooded
  7. The Clueless
    This person has no idea how and why they are on LinkedIn. They think it's another Facebook. They might post inappropriate content. They lock-down their profile to the extreme or don't even bother completing it properly. They will add people for all the wrong reasons and for no reasons at all. They never reply to messages and often end up creating duplicate and triplicate accounts then adding you all over again (the concept of retrieve password is still alien to them).

I am sure you could perhaps find additional odd types, other sub-groups, or even totally disagree with the profiling I have done; but what remains certain, is that LinkedIn is here to stay and with it the vast universe of business connections. So set your own rules and policies on whom to connect to and whom to ignore, on what approaches you welcome and what makes you lose interest. Use all this to build quality relationships that put you in touch with people that complement and complete your business micro-cosmos and put in continuous expansion and harmony. Don't be a tool...use one, in this case LinkedIn!