Cry ‘Havoc’ and Let Slip the Open Networkers

Cry ‘Havoc’ and Let Slip the Open Networkers!

A LinkedIn Social Media Article

Recently I took steps to expand my LinkedIn network by joining a small number of open networking groups. I’d been a member of such groups years ago when I first joined LinkedIn and I was interested to see if anything had changed.

In the past what tended to happen was that you would get a slew of invitations and then your new invitations would peter out. Nothing much else happened. In recent times I have heard tell of the deluge of spam and junk mail that tends to circulate around open networkers and I wanted to experiment to see if it would happen so I could share my experiences with you the readers of this blog.

Accordingly I joined two open networking groups in late May and frankly nothing happened for the first few weeks.

And then one day in mid June when I logged onto LinkedIn I had over a hundred invitations, and the same the next day, and the day after. 

Things eased off after that and I am getting around twenty invitations a day now. Once I accepted the invitations what followed was a wave of  ‘Join this group’ invitations sent to my LinkedIn inbox. Closely on the heels of those I started to receive a variety of unwanted emails to my main email address. 

These consisted typically of either complete junk or requests for me to invite the other person to join on LinkedIn.

The diagram below illustrates the sequence of what happened – details in brackets indicate where the correspondence arrived

So the result of joining the group was that I added perhaps five hundred people to my LinkedIn, possibly five percent of whom are in the main markets that I operate in. To get those I had to manage a bunch of junk emails and invitations that weren’t relevant.

How do I feel about it? I’m undecided at this point. I find the group invitations irritating because they show a lack of thought or attention – the groups clearly held little value to someone doing what I do. Also I’m not sure about the dilution of my network with so many people who are not in my core sectors.

My starting point with networking has always been

‘you never know who might come in handy in the future and if not them then perhaps someone they know’

That said seeing a wave of new connections who aren’t directly in my sectors made me wonder if it was a pointless exercise in numbers over quality.

On the other hand it didn’t take very long to manage and whilst the invitations are still coming in the junk emails and group invites seem to be dying out. Also website and blog hits are up which looks to be from new connections clicking through on my status updates.

In conclusion I would say three things, first; if you choose to be an open-networker then accept that you might well have the same experience as I did and therefore expect junk messages arriving first to your LinkedIn inbox and later to your regular email inbox. As long as you know it’s coming and press delete regularly you’ll be fine.

And secondly; I still believe in a large network on LinkedIn but I confess my conviction is wavering.

Thirdly; my conviction might be wavering but it’s not gone so I’m still accepting all invitations (at the time of writing June 2012) so come over and connect with me – click the banner below and then send me an invitation.

Until next time; invite me! 


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4 comments on “Cry ‘Havoc’ and Let Slip the Open Networkers

  1. Larry Kauf says:

    A Lion of LinkedIn told me that if you get 6000 connections you will have 4 people that you may actually do business with. For the time and worthless connections you have to make to get 4 meaningful connections, to me is a waste of time. I would rather spend my time cold calling where my numbers are MUCH better. More like 10%

    It seems to me that people these days, get a great deal of satisfaction in seeing their name in print, in ANY media and if lucky enough, they may get a reply to their opinion or a comment directed to them.

    If LinkedIn is about making meaningful connections or making connections with the “right people” to do actual business, I havent seen it. I had a Bakery owner comment on a 30 second elevator pitch. His approach was the typical ‘stock broker’ pitch (no offense to brokers) asking questions that elicit a response that leads the potential client by the nose to the answer the broker wants to hear. It’s obvious and I find it annoying and insulting.

    I gave this guy my pitch TELLING him that I can save him 40% on his Nat Gas costs and that IF he hasnt switched to an Alternative provider yet….he was paying too much. Additionally that the savings would be documented aganst the Utility.

    His response was…”he was probably paying too much”. He never proceeded to contact me or find out how he could save that kind of money for his business, even though I offered. So what makes a person OPT to ignore an offer thats in their best interests? He knows he’s paying too much; he has the opportunity to find out more info FREE and at NO COST, yet does nothing.

    Whats the point?

    • edenchanges says:

      Larry, great response and thanks for taking the time to share it.

      I think many people are wrapped up in the numbers and make connections simply to have the biggest number of connections possible. This is a modern form of validation – “Oh look I have x thousands of people in my network people love me.”

      For some reason people don’t realise that it’s only the same as having a drawer full of business cards i.e. pointless unless you make use of your connections actively.

      Your baker missed an opportunity but I wouldn’t use that example to colour all the individuals on LinkedIn.
      I’ve reached out to individuals who have then used my services because they saw the value.

      Equally there have been many who have turned me down. I am sure you know that this is simply how sales goes – as Zig Ziglar once put it “Some you win, some you lose and some get rained out.”

      I’m planning to continue my open networking for at least another month if for no other reason than I can report back on how it has gone.

      As things stand I think I might then take a half step back and become more selective.

      I’d be very interested to know Larry if you have made money through a new contact that you acquired via LinkedIn?


      • Larry Kauf says:

        I have been working LinkedIn for about 4 months and have connected with COO’s CEO’s , Purchasing Directors and Building Managers. I send a personal note along with a question for them related with why I would like to connect with them. They accept the invitation (I think without even reading the note) and dont reply to the question. A week later (since we are connected) I send them an email to their personal address thanking them for connecting and asking them if there may be a good time to call them to discuss working together. Nothing but crickets…..
        I receive the auto response that they definitely recieved my email, but there has not been a single deal done.

        I will continue to connect with my target audience but this has been a dud so far.


      • edenchanges says:


        It might be that reaching out to them so soon after connecting is turning them off. I think you have two options – either be more direct and make a phone call to introduce yourself directly to new contacts or secondly start posting out some free information that adds values to your network.

        Either directly via messages or through status updates that they see. Then let them respond or approach them after some time has passed and they have seen that you add value.

        Think of LinkedIn as simply a modern version of networking at a Chamber of Commerce event. The best business from those events often occurs a long time after meeting them.

        In summary – either take the short, direct route or play the long game.

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