As online networkers go, I definitely fall into the Ho/Sl*t category. I will get LinkedIn / Facebook Friend / Twitter Follow with just about anybody who doesn’t spam me. I deliberately choose this path because I believe that expanding my “sphere of influence” online is worth the time spent at these activities.

Last week, I received the following email via LinkedIn from a total stranger.


I’m a recent graduate and former student-athlete looking for career opportunities in the Portland Metro Area. Please let me know if you have any information or contacts.


<…name withheld because you’re probably a nice guy and I don’t want you being naive to hurt your ORM…>

OK…what’s wrong here?

  1. At Least Pretend To Be My F****** Friend. Dude, even the worst spammers in the world attempt to get LinkedIn / Facebook Friend their target before they send their spam. You didn’t even do me that courtesy…you just asked a favor of a complete stranger.
  2. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10 When you ask a favor of somebody don’t know (or even somebody you know), humility is a necessary component of the request. You have to show respect to a person who can potentially help you meet your needs and not to do so is an insult to the recipient of the message.
  3. Who The F*** Are You? I don’t have the foggiest f****** idea who you are. Am I supposed to go to your LinkedIn Page or Google your name to figure out how I might be able to help you? NOT. You’re asking me the favor…you need to give the necessary background so I can quickly determine how or whether I am able to help.
  4. Why The F*** Are You Contacting Me? The reason why people include cover letters with their resume when applying for jobs is that the cover letter gives background and context to current candidate circumstances. I have no idea why you wish to network with me (besides being in Portland). I don’t know what sort of career opportunities you wish to pursue, so I don’t know how the f*** I might be able to help you.
  5. Look man, the #@$%#$%$#% is just for effect and I’m not really upset with you. I’ve helped good friends and complete strangers with job search advice, resume review, and networking and I take a lot of pride in giving back to the greater online community that’s given so much to me. I might even consider helping you out despite your massive missteps. However, if you want to network effectively online (and that’s a good strategy if you’re looking for work), you really need to change your approach and technique.

7 thoughts on “How To F*** Up At Online Networking

  1. Hey Todd, great post, even if you do have a dirty mouth 🙂

    I agree in spirit, especially with the example you gave.

    However, at times I’ve taken a leap – adding someone on Facebook, for example – when I wasn’t sure how well they knew me, but I wanted to connect with them. Sometimes there’s no way to make that connection except assertively.

    I’ve found that some people are more open than others. There are people in my own industry who I know have heard of me and read my blog posts but completely ignore me. I’m not sure why.

    But you may never know sometimes until you reach out to someone.

    I think the other big point is that people are more or less open depending on the network- Twitter is VERY open, Facebook has become more open than it used to be, and LinkedIn can be quite closed by comparison. But again it depends on the person. There are LION’s (LinkedIn Open Networkers) who put their emails in their name so you can connect with them without fear of getting suspended by

    The way to network is to start with the more open networks and work your way up with each person, as you find synergy and a real connection with them, of course… 🙂

    Brian Carters last blog post..The 2008 TwitterStache Awards

  2. Brian, assertive “friending” is absolutely OK by me…I certainly do it and I accept it from others. However, it’s a pretty big leap between assertive “friending” and what this guy did. If you want something important from a complete stranger, it’s OK to attempt to ask…however, show some humility when you do so.

  3. Todd,

    Well f*****g said Todd. Never ceases to amaze me how little common sense a lot people have. Or maybe it’s just a lack tact and manners.

    Why would networking online be any different from meeting someone in person? I mean would you actually want to be that person who ends up talking about themselves with little to no interest in the person you are talking to? And once you’re done with your monologue have the balls to ask for a favor?!

    I have to say, I like your discretion and decency at not calling this guy out personally. Hopefully this will help others avoid the same mistake and learn a valuable social lesson: Networking is a 2-way street.

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