Love in the age of social media
Here’s the thing: I get that social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook provide a great stage for flirting. You can post cute comments, like a status update, retweet a tweet … all in the hope that the object of your desire will reciprocate with an equally encouraging reaction. But what about LinkedIn? It’s a social media platform too, isn’t it?
Except that LinkedIn is a social media platform for people to connect about WORK stuff. It’s a place where individuals talk about their career achievements, share their resumes, harvest endorsements for PROFESSIONAL reasons. To use LinkedIn as a way to flirt with someone isn’t just pathetic, it’s bordering on harassment.
A couple of times now, I’ve received requests to connect from people who really have no business with me or my field of work. Sometimes, I would accept their requests because a part of me still holds on to the “wisdom” that anything can be an opportunity. I mean, who’s to say that someone in chemical engineering wouldn’t be requiring editing services … ?
And every so often, after the acceptance of these requests, I would get a message that asked if I would like to meet up for coffee because this person would like to make new friends and he is new in town and would like to be shown around … I usually just don’t reply.
These days, I’ve become a lot more selective in accepting requests to connect on LinkedIn. Whenever I received such a request, I would click on the person’s profile and look for THREE things:
1. Is he or she in an industry that is a close cousin of mine? I’m in media so I would usually accept requests from fellow media practitioners, PRs, freelancers, publishers, etc. If the person is in an industry that doesn’t remotely require my expertise, then I go to the second step.
2. Which connections do we have in common? If the connections we share have a fairly even split between men and women, I know he is probably interested in expanding his networking circle. I have a number of friends in the business of helping startups start up, so if I see them on our list of mutual connections, I will probably accept the request. If not, the third step pretty much reveals his intentions.
3. Our mutual connections are women with great profile pictures. This is where I make the call to either take a chance OR ignore the request.
I know I should not pass judgement so quickly but after having been propositioned for the wrong reason on LinkedIn a couple of times, I think it’s reasonable for me to put in place a set of protocols that I can rely on to help me sift out the amorous requests from the ones with a professional intent behind them.
LinkedIn, unlike the other social media platform, is where we tend to accept requests to connect from people we have never met before. We connect with like-minded professionals because this is as close to networking in person in the digital sphere. To abuse LinkedIn and to use it as a way to find women and men whom you are attracted to for romantic reasons is like an insurance agent going to a funeral and trying to sell policies to the mourners – INAPPROPRIATE.
Have you been propositioned on LinkedIn before? Do you agree that LinkedIn should not be used for romantic reasons? Or, you think it’s okay? Do you have a set of “rules” you follow when deciding who to add or not add on LinkedIn? I would love to hear from you.
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and is trying to get more endorsements on LinkedIn. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.
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