LinkedIn advises you to only accept connections from people you know. That’s not how it happens in the real world, at least not for me. You accept connections from people who you think you know or a friend knows, or who you just met at a party and thought you should connect for future interactions. And over time, as you accumulate hundreds of connections, it gets difficult to tell who is who in your own list of connections.
For instance, suppose a friend of a friend requests to connect with me, I usually accept that connection based on the transitive trust factor. And later, when I revisit my contacts after a while, I forget who this connection is, there is no way to tell me the context around which the person became a connection. Of course I can look at the shared connections, but that is not any more insightful other than telling you that your friend is a mutual connection with this contact.
What I think is that LinkedIn is missing an opportunity to make their social network more smarter and richer. All they have to do is to provide the ability to (optionally) annotate our contacts with additional tidbits of information. This can really enrich the network intelligence and also provide more insights about my own contacts. Think of all the interesting graph searches you can do if you had such richer data…
So to start with, I just think two small pieces of information I can add to a contact at the time of accepting a new connection will be great help, like:
- Why did I connect with this person? (e.g. “Wants to work with me” – someone was looking for a position and contacted me, I didn’t have an opening, but seemed like an interesting person to keep in mind for later).
- Where did I meet this person? (e.g. “Met at Disrupt” – met at a conference and exchange business cards, and later connect on LinkedIn, and after a while, forget about it).
- While at it, let me also tag the contact at the time of accepting the connection. I never ever have time to go back and tag them later. Even if I had, I wouldn’t know what to tag them with. Also tagging does not address 1 & 2 as it does not carry the same level of semantics.
How do we do this, LinkedIn?