INSIGHT: Why LinkedIn is just plain annoying sometimes

I really do not need to add the person I bought a second-hand car from who has since relocated to Sweden to my professional network. And certainly not anyone I dated years ago!

Granted, some of the suggested contacts might actually be people you’d genuinely like to connect with. But by pre-selecting all the contacts it found, LinkedIn doesn’t make it easy to do so.

The user interface seems geared to making us click the button that will send an invitation to connect to all of the selected contacts.

So here’s where you need to pay attention, Bond. There is in fact a checkbox that lets you unselect all the contacts and only pick the ones you want, but this is quite easy to miss at first glance.

But once you’ve invited the selected contact to connect, LinkedIn has another enticing offer in store for you…

“Stay in touch with your contacts we found when you added your address book. Invite them to LinkedIn so they can connect with you.”

Here you’ll see a list of all the contacts LinkedIn couldn’t find a match for in its system. This will be because these are mostly the now defunct email addresses of people who have long since changed jobs or abandoned Hotmail, along with random businesses you’ve emailed at some point.

While the previous step offered some value, as long as you select only the people you actually want to connect with, this one offers no perceivable user benefit.

Jane and Bill will not get your offer to connect on LinkedIn since the invitation will disappear into whatever ghostly void messages sent to dead email addresses end up in.

So what’s the point of this?

This is most likely a data mining exercise on behalf of LinkedIn. Its servers will get the bouncebacks from those obsolete email addresses and this data will be analysed for some commercial purpose.

So just opt out from feeding the machine by hitting “Skip this step”.

By Louis van Wyk - Public Relations & Social Media Consultant

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