DEAR LINKEDIN: IF I WANTED TO BE SPAMMED, I’D ANSWER MY PHONE

We are all familiar with LinkedIn, right? The social media version of professional networking. A beautiful blend of fun, connection, and the potential for future employment. Supposedly. I think when it first started it was a great way to meet other professionals in your space, or in a space you were hoping to break into. It was easy to use the people you knew to help you reach out to people you were hoping to know. Got it? You got it! Glad we’re all on the same page.

Like most good technology ideas, somewhere over the years it’s turned into the newest way to get spam messages. And I am 100% not here for it. I’m not talking about the recruiters. The recruiters are the foundation of marketing LinkedIn as a rival to Indeed when it comes to landing the next job to help you live your best life. Through the people you already know, obviously. But also probably through a more elaborate version of your resume and cover letter on your profile. 

Recruiters are cool, I have no beef with them. They’re trying to help you after all, and if it isn’t the right fit for whatever reason just hit ‘No, Thanks’. Better yet, mark yourself as not actively open to new positions. Literally could not be easier to opt out of those. What I have an issue with is all the other business development representatives, or financial advisors, or anyone in a mildly sales related role. Stop spamming me.

Like most social media platforms, the number of followers you have are loosely connected to your actual status as a person. LinkedIn uses the term connections, but in the Activity section those translate to followers and this was the start of the downfall. Because now everyone wants to make those numbers jump to help themselves stand out from all the other users as a well-connected professional. As a result, any rando will reach out to ask for a connection. Regardless if you know them professionally, personally, or from anywhere in your closest 250 mile radius. 

Part of LinkedIn’s charm is that you can message people you aren’t connected with. That confidence to do a cold reach out pays off. Most of the time. Enter the sales world who feels it’s appropriate to reach out to any and everyone. They start so innocently, too, which is now a pretty sure sign there is an ulterior motive. Tell me about how you got to your current position. I’d love to hear about your journey into this career field. How do you like your current job. Then, out of the blue, sales pitch! Ew. 

A simple message that you can choose to leave on read is not the end of the world, however. By now, I’ve become quite the expert ghoster on LinkedIn. Zero part of me feels any sort of regret for reading and not responding to a message. The true horror comes in when these scam artists send you a connection, then immediately start guessing at what your company email address might be. And since business tends to stay predictable in certain areas, it’s not that hard for any high school attendee to guess either your first name @ the company, or your first name plus last name @ the company combo. 

To this effort, I like to kindly show a certain finger in my mind. This is a step too far. If I look at my phone and see a connection request notification right under an email from you, when I have zero clue who you even are, that is the easiest swerve of my life. For all the sales people reading, this actively makes me want to avoid both you and your business indefinitely. The follow up email making sure I saw your previous one is also unnecessary. 

If you want to market your product to myself, and my team, do it the old fashioned way – through an obvious email marketing campaign. Or via any sort of conference. If you have a booth and are giving away shirts, I’ll gladly give you my email address. I have no shame. But this creepy stalk you online and send you an email technique is no bueno and must be halted. After all, if I really wanted to be spammed I’d just answer my phone.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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