When you invite someone or receive an invite, the recepient has a choice of accepting the invite, saying they don’t know the invite, reporting spam, or simply archiving the invite without performing any action. If the invite is accepted, the two of you become immediately connected. If the invite is archived, you can always accept the invitation at a later date. If you report spam, well, I am sure that the invitee will not be permitted to use LinkedIn for long.
IDK = I Don’t Know This Person
The “I Don’t Know This Person” (hereafter referred to as “IDK” for short) response, while seeming to be an innocent way of letting the invitee know that you only want to accept known people in your network, and because you don’t know them you’d rather not have them in your network. However, the problem is that LinkedIn looks down on these responses as they created their social networking platform for professionals to connect people who know each other but lost touch, not for open networkers. Therefore, if you receive 5 cumulative IDKs you will need to enter an E-Mail address for every invite you send. This means that if you find an old colleague and want to connect but don’t know their most recent E-Mail address, you will be unable to connect.
I personally have never responded with an IDK, but I have received my share of them, even from self-professed LinkedIn LIONs and members of LinkedIn groups for open networkers. I believe it is a unwritten but understood rule that LIONs should never respond with an IDK but merely archive any invite they do not want to connect with. You never know when you may want to connect with that contact if you move to a new place or a new industry, so why not just archive it and keep the potential for connecting open? Couldn’t hurt.
As for people who are not open networkers, as I mentioned in my How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network post, you invite them at your own risk. If you do not want to receive invites, I highly recommend that you state so in your profile and/or contact details. If you do not state so, you can assume that you will receive invites. But even if you receive them, please do not punish the sender but merely archive them if you do not want to connect.
Peace to all.