Can a LinkedIn LION or Open Networker be Selective?

Can-a-LinkedIn-LION-or-Open-Networker-be-Selective-V2

I received this question yesterday from an engineer who plans to start evangelizing LinkedIn to an engineering community who may not have the same view of Social Media like I do.  As part of this person’s LinkedIn Objective, he wants to create his own brand of being the Pioneer of Connecting Engineers on LinkedIn.  I think this is a great idea, as every professional should be on LinkedIn, and it brings up a good question as to how an open networking or LION tag can help in doing so.  But what about the idea of a selective LinkedIn LION?

I have written extensively on the subject of LIONs, including my most recent revised LinkedIn LION definition, and to this day there are still lots of confused people.  So let me state it as simple as possible: LION stands for a LinkedIn Open Networker, and anybody can become a LION or Open Networker by stating that they are so.  In such declaration, a LION is saying that they welcome invitations from anyone and everyone, but there is never a guarantee and there is no promise that they will accept all of the invitations they receive.  However, there is an unwritten law that LIONs never return an invitation that they requested with an “I Don’t Know” or IDK response that would punish the sender because it is the LION that requested the invitation in the first place!

Now, because anyone can declare themselves a LION, there are many different types that you will find out there on LinkedIn depending on how they see themselves and their own definition of the LION concept.  There are many, like myself, who are simply digging their wells before they are thirsty and building out large networks by accepting all invitations.  There are others who think, even though they are an open networker, they can send you an IDK in response to your invite (yes, I have received IDKs from a “LION” on multiple occassions).  And in between there are many different shades of open networkers, each with their own rule as to what invitations they will accept.

So, to answer your question, a LION can be selective in what invitations they accept so long as they do not respond with an IDK and merely archive invitation requests that they receive.  The strategy of promoting yourself as an open networker while actively inviting other engineers who are open networkers into your network is a sound strategy.  That being said, I would add two things to note here:

  • You should note in your Contact Settings that, although you are a LION, you are especially interested in receiving invites from those in an engineering-related field.  All others you reserve the right not to accept.  At least this way you have a disclaimer, as you should ALWAYS read Contact Settings before inviting someone, but it may make some open networkers question whether or not you are really “open”.  I think it is a risk you have to take to be fair to those open networkers who are not engineers that may be “wasting” an invitation on you should you decide to archive their request.
  • I understand that you want to be selective, and I started off as a selective LION as well.   But the beauty of LinkedIn is that you can see and ask for introductions to 2nd and 3rd degree connections.  There may be someone that themselves are not in an engineering-related industry but may be connected to many people that are engineers that you may want to connect with.  That is the power of LinkedIn.  That is why I slowly moved to accepting invites from different industries and geographies when I realized that I was missing out on a huge virtual network by archiving these invites.  I avoided India for a long time, for instance, until I realized that there are so many recruiters and sourcers from India, it didn’t make sense to exclude them.  Shortly thereafter I was interviewing with an Indian recruiter for a potential job in Japan!  And this is the beauty of archiving invites, in that you can always come back to them at a later time and accept them should you change your mind or policy.  Either way, in light of what I say, I do hope that you will rethink how selective you may want to be in accepting invitations if you want to label yourself as an open networker.

At the end of the day, a LION is a truly “open” networker, so as long as you do not send an IDK, you are really free to do as you wish.  I do feel, though, to repeat myself in conclusion, that you should:

  1. Make sure you never respond with an IDK.
  2. Put your invite policy in your Contact Settings.
  3. Reconsider your selective approach and individually decide who’s invitation you want to accept outside of the engineers.

Best of luck to you and I welcome your further comments and questions!

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
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Neal Schaffer
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Comments

  1. says

    Neal,
    That’s an interesting point of view and in someway it helped me to go through a different analysis of what a LION is and how we can benefit from.
    Well, I read some of your posts today (hajimete ne) and thanks a lot!
    Regards,
    Helio

  2. says

    Neal,
    That’s an interesting point of view and in someway it helped me to go through a different analysis of what a LION is and how we can benefit from.
    Well, I read some of your posts today (hajimete ne) and thanks a lot!
    Regards,
    Helio

  3. Neal Schaffer says

    Helio,
    I’m glad that you found value in my blog post. Thanks for your commentary and looking forward to seeing you again!
    Cheers,
    Neal

  4. Neal Schaffer says

    Helio,
    I’m glad that you found value in my blog post. Thanks for your commentary and looking forward to seeing you again!
    Cheers,
    Neal

  5. motagg says

    Thanks Neal! It is the advice I was looking for and is a very useful perspective. I will set myself up as a LION and and set the contact details expressing my interests.

    At least people can read my interests. I just could not understand what a LION would do without any personal objectives on display.

    I agree and understand what you say about non-related engineering contact having potential engineering contacts. After all, I learned about LinkedIn through my wife talking to her friend in New York, otherwise I would never have known.

  6. motagg says

    Thanks Neal! It is the advice I was looking for and is a very useful perspective. I will set myself up as a LION and and set the contact details expressing my interests.

    At least people can read my interests. I just could not understand what a LION would do without any personal objectives on display.

    I agree and understand what you say about non-related engineering contact having potential engineering contacts. After all, I learned about LinkedIn through my wife talking to her friend in New York, otherwise I would never have known.

  7. Neal Schaffer says

    Best of luck to you and do report back to us on your success! And there you go about your wife introducing LinkedIn to you…you just never know how a connection can help you out in the future!

  8. says

    Thanks your post about linkedin is certainly insightful. I recently wrote a nice piece on engineer’s lack of embrace for social media ( http://www.engineeringdaily.net/2009/04/social-networking-for-engineers ). I am trying to raise awareness in the engineering community. My own opinion contrary to that of most of my peers is, social networking is not just necessary but a necessary progression from traditional modes of communication. I much the same way telephones were the better option compared to letters, then in much the same way sending emails or collaborating electronically is a better option than meeting someone in person. This we have to accept as the wave of the future and fully embrace it. Have a nice day

  9. says

    Thanks your post about linkedin is certainly insightful. I recently wrote a nice piece on engineer’s lack of embrace for social media ( http://www.engineeringdaily.net/2009/04/social-networking-for-engineers ). I am trying to raise awareness in the engineering community. My own opinion contrary to that of most of my peers is, social networking is not just necessary but a necessary progression from traditional modes of communication. I much the same way telephones were the better option compared to letters, then in much the same way sending emails or collaborating electronically is a better option than meeting someone in person. This we have to accept as the wave of the future and fully embrace it. Have a nice day

  10. Neal Schaffer says

    Thank you for your insight as well. And, yes, social networking is definitely here to stay and is a new alternative mode of communication that the Web 2.0 has enabled for us to use or lose. I agree that we should be fully embracing it, and I hope that all of you would agree!

  11. Neal Schaffer says

    Best of luck to you and do report back to us on your success! And there you go about your wife introducing LinkedIn to you…you just never know how a connection can help you out in the future!

  12. Neal Schaffer says

    Thank you for your insight as well. And, yes, social networking is definitely here to stay and is a new alternative mode of communication that the Web 2.0 has enabled for us to use or lose. I agree that we should be fully embracing it, and I hope that all of you would agree!

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