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People You May Not Want to Know

June 30, 2008

Linked In is one of the best professional networking sites out there. I’ve seen plenty of articles and posts complaining of its limited functionality and personality, but I kind of like it that way. I like that it’s simply a place for you to post an abbreviated resume and connect with colleagues, fellow alumni, and other people with similar professional interests. Here, I don’t have to post my favorite books/movies/shows and wacky photos from last weekend. Facebook is my faithful friend in that endeavor.

I’ve been on the site for a little over a year, and I’ve got to say, the function that still inspires the most wonder is “People You May Know”. I love the concept – based on your connections, past job, and contact list, Linked In shows you a list of people that you may be connected with or want to add to your business network. For the most part, (yes, this is a foreshadowing alert) I’ve appreciated the suggestions, since it’s connected me to many people that were in my network but not necessarily in my contact database.

Of course, there’s a downside to this handy little feature. It stands to remind you of those you wish were not only out of your network, but off the planet. What ever happened to that station on the moon? I was reminded of this when I logged in a few days ago to see a notification that John, the inspiration for my yet to be completed “worst date ever” mini-novella, has joined Linked In. My initial reaction was a nice cocktail of one part amusement to two parts disbelief. How the heck did Linked In figure out that he was “someone I may know”? He was not in my contact list. All emails between us had been purged. Nightmares, I’m still working on those, but I doubt LinkedIn developers have yet to hack in to my dreams. Or have they?

While I pondered the possibility of Linked In dream hackers, I realized that I must have long ago uploaded an old contact list. Perhaps I was on an old one of his. I’ll never know for sure. I carefully considered my options.

Oh Romeo, Romeo, how do I close thee?

Is it….

    I don’t know them
    I don’t know them well enough
    I prefer not to connect

Whoo… this was a tough one. The selection I really needed was somewhere between a “all of the above” and a “write in your own other reason” option. I do know him, and I know him pretty well, thanks to one particularly enchanting date where he split his time between hitting on my friend and speeding past the TMI limit. And yes, I truly prefer not to connect. ‘Cuz as much as I subscribe to a “it’s a small world after all” approach to networking, those who run around with the “hair flying, tampon inserted kinky sex” network aren’t people I’m regularly connecting with. Or if I am, it’s because they’re keeping that information to themselves and/or websites that are more germane to their proclivities. And to those discrete friends of mine, I say thank you.

But I digress. In the interest karma, I decided to just leave that one connection be. We’ll see what comes of it.

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