This post really isn’t about writing so much. It’s more of a rant against online expectations and presentations.
But since online expectations and presentations so often center around writing… I feel that a writing blog isn’t the worst place to vent my feelings on the subject. So vent and rant I shall.
Specifically, I’m taking issue with LinkedIn today, which I’ve heard can be very valuable. I’ve even seen some of its value trickle my way little bit by little bit over the years.
But overall, LinkedIn seems like Facebook for professionals. Everyone “connects” with everyone, not for the actual relationship benefits but for the bragging rights to see:
Who has the most followers
Who has the most likes
Who has the most comments.
It also seems to be the typical networking center where everyone is so aggressively in it for themselves that it’s a waste of the whole community’s time. I can’t tell you how many people reach out to me to get something without any fanfare or pretense at making it a mutually beneficial association.
To be sure, it’s mildly annoying on my end as the recipient. But it’s also a giant waste of writing time and space on the sender’s part.
To give you an example of the kind of aggressive LinkedIn marketing I mean, consider this message I received last week:
Please accept my apologies Jeannette for the delay in responding. I’ve not only been travelling, but have also been busy with an editing project, both of which have kept me away from all social media.
Thanks so much for accepting my invitation to connect – I look forward to developing a mutually beneficial and friendly LinkedIn relationship!
I’m a qualified and experienced editor and proof reader, so if you’re ever in need of either one, for whatever you’ve written, please consult my website – the “services” page. Note that my fees are negotiable for individuals.
Or perhaps you’re interested in reading a thriller, in which case you’d do well to visit the books on that site. Silverenviron and Bitter Gold are a duology and should be read in that order. Bitter Gold was originally written as a stand-alone novel, but if you read only that one you’ll miss out on all the action in Silverenviron. Alligator Isle, the novella, is also available in audio, and although the sites are not shown on my website, I’ll be more than happy to provide them to any interested parties. www.thisisnothisrealwebsite.com
There was no sign off included.
Then again, there didn’t need to be. He’d already given me everything I needed to know.
I won’t go into detail about how he spelled “proofreader” inaccurately except to say that it’s not two words. It’s one.
Nor will I point out the other little typos he made.
I will, however, note that he was offering an editor editorial services – as if he hadn’t even taken the time to glance over my profile before reaching out. Which, I imagine, is true.
It’s also true that this individual has no sense of online tact. He says he’s looking “forward to developing a mutually beneficial and friendly LinkedIn relationship” with me. Yet he otherwise bombards me with personal details without asking a single question in return.
That doesn’t make me inclined to either utilize his services or buy his books. And I can’t imagine he gets very far that way with most other LinkedIn members.
How can he change that for the better? Well, since he’s clearly sending this message to his new contacts one by one (considering how he mentions my name), he could try the following:
Read the person’s profile to see what they do.
Click on a few of their past posts, if they have any. Leave a positive comment or two to stand out.
Reference those past posts and/or profile in the message.
Ask a follow-up question to prompt a response.
Cut back on the personal details. And pipe down on the professional pats to the back. Nobody wants to make time for a braggart.
Sign off with a “Sincerely” or “Thanks for your time!” like someone who's not completely self-involved.
There’s still no guarantee he’d hear back from anyone if he followed those six steps. But his prospects would be much more positive nonetheless.