Sunday, March 1, 2009

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part i

This seven part blog series will give you, the reader, some insight into the proper way to invite people you know (and don't know) into your professional LinkedIn network.

part i – great tool, but use it wisely

LinkedIn is more than a social networking site; it is a great professional networking site offering a variety of tools and applications to both its paying and gratis members. One of those tools is Imported Contacts. New members will typically use this function right away because it makes setting up their network quick and easy. However, one shouldn't use this without some care because it can seriously impede your LinkedIn experience.

This function is accessed by clicking the "Imported Contacts" link and then clicking "Add contacts to your contact list". From this screen you can choose to have LinkedIn check your Outlook account(s) stored locally on your PC, and/or check your web email account(s). After you select the email account, and enter your credentials, just click the "Upload Contacts" button. In a few moments the screen will be populated with all contacts from your email account(s). Here is where you need to be cautious. Make a mistake here and you could be Locked Out of LinkedIn.

Let's see why.

By default, LinkedIn selects all of your contacts and adds them to the invite list on the right of the screen. Many people, unwittingly, harmlessly, let LinkedIn do all the work for them and click the "Invite selected Contacts" button. Maybe you'll be lucky and everyone in your email address books knows you, likes you and would be willing to join your network. But if you are like most of the Internet population, you will have addresses of people who don't know you, like you, or have spammed you in the past. And if they do know you, you still shouldn't click the "Invite selected Contacts" button at this time. If you do you will be sending them the very impersonal "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." message. Even if they know you that might feel slighted by your lack of common courtesy and manners. You might end up receiving the dreaded "I Don't Know" response. No big deal, right? Well, yes. It is a big deal.

Click here to learn how to use Imported Contacts.


  1. Gene - GREAT information!

    I added a link to your article to my PSG-Dover NJ LinkedIn group News section.

    I myself was zealous in my invitations after MNA Combined Networking meetings. I would invite ALL the meeting attendees to my LinkedIn - thinking they would remember me. I even stated that we attended the meeting together in my invite. Unfortunately, some would respond with the dreaded "I Don't Know" response.

    LinkedIn doesn't explain what that response does for the user who sends the invitation, that it could cause a "restriction" on future invitations. Thursday (3/05), I sent a few invitations to individuals I knew. After I sent the invitations, I saw a auto reply link. I ignored the link the first time I sent out my invitation. But happened to link on the link the second time. Unfortunately, I didn't pay much attention (I wish I had), and clicked on that "I agree" to what ever the data LinkedIn requested.

    Later, I received an email from LinkedIn Customer Service with the subject line: "You have been unrestricted."
    I didn't know I was restricted! So, I researched the LinkedIn help screens to determine what it was all about.

    I only wish I had your helpful information to helped me when I was a new my LinkedIn user.

    Thank your for your thoughtful effort to reach out to help others!

    A Fellow ETP.ning group member,
    PSGTechnology group owner

  2. Thank you for your comment and for adding my blog URL to PSG-Dover. I am a trainer as PSG-New Brunswick. PSG is a great program.

    Recently, by accident, I clicked "I Don't Know" on a friend and I received an interesting response from LinkedIn customer service.