Unfortunately some social media sites involve collateral damage. Like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is supposed to be a site for business people to network. However, I find that LinkedIn is becoming more and more a site for sales people to pitch products to “decision-makers”.

I had the misfortune of confirming a couple of them yesterday. Misleading invitation notices and before I knew it I was being peppered with emails asking for time to meet and to review opportunities.

Sites like this one outline how to use the service to make more sales although they do include the following warning:

7. Is there any LinkedIn etiquette that I should be aware of?

Good question. Yes, there is appropriate protocol and etiquette to know about. LinkedIn members must abide by the Terms of Service (available on the LinkedIn Website). Briefly, you must not gather names, e-mails and contact information and “spam”? them or send mailings or such to LinkedIn members. Respect the members and communicate the way they want to communicate. We have other social networks in our lives such as church, clubs and associations and networking groups. In the same way you don”™t go up to someone for the first time and introduce yourself and immediately say, “Hi, I”™m John Smith. I sell XXX product. Do you want to buy some?”?, you don”™t do that on LinkedIn either.

Maybe you don’t. But others do. LinkedIn has the following in their User Agreement:

Don’t upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that:

… includes any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, “junk mail,”? “spam,”? “chain letters,”? “pyramid schemes,”? or any other form of solicitation. This prohibition includes but is not limited to (a) using LinkedIn invitations to send messages to people who don”™t know you or who are unlikely to recognize you as a known contact; (b) using LinkedIn to connect to people who don”™t know you and then sending unsolicited promotional messages to those direct connections without their permission; and (c) sending messages to distribution lists, newsgroup aliases, or group aliases.

I need to pay more attention to the network invites that come in over LinkedIn.

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