I have a problem with LinkedIn.
I feel like a tool looking up and finding all my coworkers on LinkedIn and asking them to "connect" with me. No offense if anyone does that, but the concept of "connecting" and "friending" seems foreign to a professional environment. Real professionals exchange business cards or something like that. Right?
I think this might just be a manifestation of a problem I have with social networks that require friend confirmation. Basically, you're asking someone else to confirm that they are your friend. On the flip side, other people are asking you to confirm that you are in fact their friend.
Maybe my issue is with using the word "friend" itself. I don't have a lot of friends. I have a small circle of friends, and a much much much larger group of people I consider acquaintances. I don't mean that in a bad way, but it's how I mentally organize the world. Does that make me anti-social? Maybe. But that's how I roll.
On Facebook, people probably aren't asking you if you're their friend. They're asking you, "Do you remember me from [blank]?" In my case, the answer is probably yes. I do remember you. But I'm not interested in "friending" you and keeping up to date with your day to day happenings. The same way I wouldn't expect you to follow mine. Friends are close, and acquaintances aren't. I wouldn't tell an acquaintance about my day, because I'm just wasting their time.
A dilemma occurs when you have to see the person who requested "friendship" again. Will there be repercussions of turning them down? I often accepted with plans to remove later when I knew I wouldn't have to deal with them again. But then I forget, and the person sticks around until I do a mass culling.
Back on topic, though. LinkedIn calls them "connections." This is a much better term than "friend." But, the same problems apply. Is it tacky go through your company/department and "connect" with everyone you know? What if they don't accept? Should I "connect" with the CEO? What if someone wants to connect with me that I don't know?
LinkedIn's "professionalism" makes it feel like the stakes are even higher. Instead of navigating through a purely social scene, your career is brought into the mix as well. Every connection you make seems to be triple checked. Are you sure you know this person? How do you know them? Are you sure you should be applying for this group? They'll get back to you when they approve you.
Once I make it over all the hurdles to connect with folks, I have no what I'm supposed to do next.