The purpose of LinkedIn, according to the company, is “to connect the world’s professionals to allow them to be more productive and successful. Our services are designed to promote economic opportunity for our members by enabling you and millions of other professionals to meet, exchange ideas, learn, and find opportunities or employees, work, and make decisions in a network of trusted relationships.”
If you don’t trust the person in your network, why are you connected?
If you don’t respect, like, or (gasp!) know the person, how can you trust?
Scrolling through my LinkedIn news feed (similar to Facebook, showing what my connections are liking, commenting, sharing, and updating), I recognized this week that I didn’t know a lot of names.
I’m partially to blame. For years I openly connected with people who shared geographic, demographic, or psychographic interests. It takes two to approve a relationship — but I initiated a lot of them. Maybe we networked at an event. Maybe we exchanged business cards. Maybe we commented on the same blogs. Maybe we shared blogging advice. Maybe we were friends of friends.
Hi, we live in the same zip code, let’s connect!
Hi, we work in the same industry, let’s connect!
Hi, we both reacted the same way, let’s connect!
Here’s the rub. If I don’t know you or don’t remember why we connected in the first place, how can I accurately talk to someone on your behalf when I don’t really know you? How can I refer the other person to you when I don’t keep in touch with that person? To be blunt: Who are you? (Or: Who is the person you’re asking me about?)
Time for spring cleaning those connections.
“The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” – Marie Kondo
I suggest the following actions on the top three social networks.
On LinkedIn: Remove connections with anyone you don’t recognize.
If I ask for a referral to one of your connections and either you don’t know me well enough or don’t know that person well enough, remove one or both of us.
Tip: Start with the newsfeed. If you don’t recognize someone’s name, click to their profile and peruse their job and recent experience. If you think their experience can be helpful to you, don’t remove but write hello. If you think their experience is irrelevant to you, smile and let go.
If you let go, go back to their profile and click the link to view mutual connections. Chances are, you might want to let some of them go too.
P.S. Edit your privacy setting to not display your name before visiting someone’s profile that you might remove. Otherwise you might get a message from someone who suddenly realizes you’re not connected.
On Facebook: Unfollow your noisy friends. You know who they are.
Unfriend anyone who either doesn’t interact on your wall posts or you on their posts. Interaction is liking, commenting, or sharing.
Tip: Dive into your friend list. The newsfeed is algorithm-oriented so you won’t see everyone. If you unfriend someone, click the link to see mutual friends. Chances are, if you unfriend one, you’ll unfriend the others. Smile and let go.
On Twitter: Unfollow everyone. Then follow a select few.
It’s the only way to do it properly. Some people like browser extensions. I like Tweepi.
My current few includes Kirstie Alley, Mira Sorvino, Curtis Armstrong, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and other celebrities. I never followed them before — because they were drowned out by social marketers who tweet constantly. In recent days, though, each has interacted me either through liking my tweets or replying to me.
Create lists. One list could be for people in your geography. Another list could be for people who work in an industry. For instance, here’s a list of mine featuring people who work on Capitol Hill.
That’s a public list but you can also create private lists that only you can see. I have a bunch of them.
Tip: If you don’t want to unfollow everyone, then unfollow selectively. It’s okay to let go. You can always refollow.
If a relationship doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to let go. Accept the past for the past and just say no.
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