Personal LinkedIn Policy

Every so often I someone finds my LinkedIn profile and asks me to join their network, and vice-versa. I am always pleased to hear from TaoSecurity Blog readers who would like to contact me. However, I stick to a fairly consistent policy about accepting invitations to LinkedIn.

If you look at my LinkedIn connections, you might notice a few groupings. First, you'll see an overwhelming number of ex-Foundstone consultants, ex- or current-Air Force personnel and contractors, and others with whom I've directly worked. Second, you'll see some members of the digital security community with whom I have regular or semi-regular contact. Finally, you will see a few students of my multi-day training classes, people I've met through NoVA Sec and related northern Virginia security business, and maybe a few people I chat with regularly in IRC.

In other words, I hardly ever accept invitations from people I've never met in person. Meeting once or twice at security conferences doesn't count, unless it's part of an ongoing conversation. I realize some people use LinkedIn like an extended address book. I don't use LinkedIn like that. I use the site to keep ties with people for whom I can vouch or testify to their technical skills or interests. I never want to look at my LinkedIn contacts list and ask myself "Who's that again?"

I expect some people might not care for this policy, but that's the way I use the site. Thank you.


Michael Farnum said…
Hey Richard, I think our dogs met once in a previous life. Can you add me to your LinkedIn contacts?
Anonymous said…
I also feel a little sleazy sending out invites, especially to folks who aren't registered. Plus, I've noticed major spam to the email account I used for LinkedIn immediately after registering. If you think about it, it's a self-generating sales-lead database as much as it is a business networking site. I have gone back and forth on whether to drop out. Perhaps SANS and other professional organizations could create a private Linked-In like service.
Anonymous said…
tim b, I've had no problems with SPAM as a result of joining linkedin.
Anonymous said…
I haven't had spam problems either. But I fully understand Richard's policy; LinkedIn is a professional networking site, not a social networking site (like MySpace or Friendster or whatever). The goal isn't to prove your popularity by accruing contacts. Even if someone from a previous workplace of mine sends me an invite, if I can't remember anything about him (and therefore couldn't vouch for him), I don't add him.
Joel Esler said…
I accepted a couple anonymous linkedin invites shortly after i got on, i quickly learned my lesson. Luckily the one guy that I DON'T know on my list is cool, so I can't fault him for that. Otherwise Richard, I use LinkedIn the same way you do.
Anonymous said…
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