We've all heard about the social networking explosion...heck, blogging is even part of it. If you put your name out there and attach it to any kind of credible content, people will try to link to you. Lately, I've gotten a number of invitations to join LinkedIn, to update my contact info (most of these are via Plaxo) and join a recruiter's network on the Electronic Recruiting Exchange.
I want to put my opinion out here so that nobody takes offense if I don't join their network. My personal opinion is that the value of the network itself lies in the integrity of the connection. By this I mean that a true network consists of people that you know and trust. So by connecting with people that you don't know very well, the integrity of your network (at least within the tool) declines. Then it's nothing more than a list of people (which you could find by using a search engine). So I will not be accepting links from people that I don't have a professional relationship with.
I have to admit that I am often frustrated when I am on the ERE network site (for those of you that aren't recruiters, it's an online portal for members of a large staffing industry organization) and I see someone being congratulated for having 1000 people in their network. That just doesn't make sense to me. I don't know 1000 good recruiters...do you? Can those relationships really be valuable? Is it a popularity contest or are people trying to prove how well networked they are? To me, it sounds like a it's not a good use of time (I'm sorry...I call it like I see it).
So if you have sent me an invitation, please don't be offended if I decline it. It's simply that I have not yet gotten to know you. I'm very open to getting to know you (or else I wouldn't be blogging here). But I am really only comfortable accepting invitations from people that I already know well enough to consider them in my professional network. But I'm very accessible by mail or this blog though. So feel free to contact me any time. Get to know me ; )