Story by Steven Petrow -
My column of two weeks ago (“Don’t make this mistake on LinkedIn”) drew lots of ire from some readers, not to mention a whole new crop of questions about conduct on LinkedIn. That column focused on what I called “inappropriate” or “bad” LinkedIn behavior, and I think it resonated so strongly because, as Peter Vincent, vice president of human rescources at the Audubon Society, told me: “LinkedIn is such a critical element in career management.”
Half a dozen readers specifically asked about a LinkedIn “mistake” of another kind, which is well-represented by this email:
“I quit LinkedIn because if you hit the wrong button in LinkedIn -- something related to Search for connections -- Linked In will automatically send an invitation to EVERYONE IN YOUR CONTACT LIST!!! Imagine: people you fired, people who fired you, ex-spouses and lovers, the guy you owe money to, your cable company, your proctologist, your kid's teachers -- you get the idea. LinkedIn's behavior in this regard is extremely arrogant, insulting, and embarrassing.”
As it turns out, a number of threads exist about this very topic on the LinkedIn site, including “LinkedIn automatically invited my entire contact list” and “People complaining I’ve sent invites to them but I didn’t.”
One user posted his advice: “Beware hasty button-clicking! As pointed out elsewhere in this thread, [LinkedIn] standard practice is to use [a confusing user interface] to get users to do things they don't intend to do. For example, to NOT invite somebody you SELECT their name, and to invite somebody you DE-SELECT.”
Does that sound confusing? Well, it does because it is. In a nutshell, let’s say you have 500 names among your contacts and you want to send invites to 50. To do that, you would need to “deselect” 450. This is neither intuitive – nor easy.