DucksInARowToday I received a request to connect on LinkedIn from someone I had never met. 

Christy Miller of Desert Flower Does Workable Wardrobes sent me this message because she found me on LinkedIn as part of the Networking Phoenix Group there –

Hi Steven, 

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. I am the owner of Desert Flower Does Workable Wardrobes, which allows me to Enhance your Image Working with your own Wardrobe. Everyday you make a first impression to someone. That impression goes a long way. Everyday you go to your closet to start on that impression. My closet coordination is the wardrobe that works and gets you to a place where you look and feel your best! 

Please let me know if I can be of assistance with your business and networking endeavors. 


It got me thinking about the way I respond to people I’ve not met in online social networking situation.  I look an offer to connect as something more than just adding to the stats of my social media presence – I like the idea I have or might meet these people in my network offline.

The answer is it varies, depending on the social network it comes from.  Here’s the criteria I usually apply when evaluating these invitations –

Twitter – 1) be interesting, 2) have a profile you’ve taken the time to complete, 3) have a link to a page that says something about you, 4) at least one post before you’ve followed 1,000 people.  If you’re in Arizona, I usually follow, if you’re involved in social media someway, I usually follow, if you’re from somewhere outside the US, I like to follow because I like the global aspect of social media.  You’ll notice that my followed vs. follower ratio shows I do not auto-follow on my personal account. 

Facebook – there will usually need to be some common connection between us.  More than one common acquaintance is best, but if that common friend is well known to me, I’ll accept.  Others are usually accepted, but I often put them on a list with restricted access to my profile.

Second Life – in Second Life, there is a much deeper mandate to have made a person-to-person connection.  The dynamics of the environment really require more than a random friend offer.  We have to have met at a virtual event of some kind, we have to have had some level of conversation and made a request to be friends in SL before the offer to connect is even offered. 

The link above will take you to The Social Media Bible Plaza in Second Life, I often hang out there listening to an indie music channel, otherwise do a people search for Estaban Graves and tell me you read my blog – we’ll connect in text or voice.

LinkedIn – This is an enforced, ‘you-have-to-really-know-the-person’ network.  I’ve had people forget how we were connected when I’ve offered a connection often enough that they slapped my hand.  Now if I offer a connection, it’s because it’s someone I know and have actually met or talked to enough on another network that I feel like I could make a decent, legitimate comment about them in a social network setting.  I’ll also refer to how we met in the connection request, to try and prompt the recollection.

If I get a connection offer, I apply the criteria of “how did we meet?”  If I do not remember at the moment, I will ask how people how we met, or why we would connect.  Never do I connect without understanding why.  I think there are some people in my network that I may have forgotten how / why we’re connected, particularly if we’ve been connected since my early days in LinkedIn, but mostly my LinkedIn network is genuine.

MySpace – my profile there is not very active right now, but they’ve been doing so much new stuff, I will be revamping it soon… if you’re connected to me elsewhere, I’ll likely accept an invite to connect as I get that profile up and going again.

Other SocNets, Review Sites, etc. – I’m pretty open to any connection, except for adult content and people that appear to be establishing their social presence for spamming purposes only.

Back to the invite from Christy though…

I was impressed with her thoughtfulness and they way she asked to connect.  I recognized that we were both part of the same group and that is was more about a local connection.  I also like that she might be able to help me with a professional wardrobe for an upcoming presentation we’re doing with ASBA and IBM… I accepted her invite to connect, sent her a response and asked if I might refer to her very tactic in a blog post in asking for a LinkedIn connection – she said yes and I look forward to seeing how we might connect further.

(image from eHow)