DON’T WANNA READ? THEN LISTEN!:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin.”
Okay, so I may not have the best social skills in the world (as outlined by my fourth audioblog entry). Having said that, in spite of my disability, I put in the effort, even when it’s not that easy for me. So, to be perfectly honest with you, those first eleven words that I began my audioblog with are, hands-down, the words that annoy me most on a regular, day-to-day basis in social media. In case you don’t recognize it, this is the stock message that you can send to someone when you want to connect with them on Linkedin. It’s a bland, lifeless, and kind of awkward message that Linkedin provides for people who don’t want to bother to write out an actual reason for their connection.
So, my simple question is…”Is that all ‘ya got?”
Lord knows that there’s business to be had with connections. Connecting with the right agents, the right clients…heck, connecting with the right voice actors, even if you never meet them in person, can work wonders through the exchange of information that can be gained through good discussion. I’ve had the opportunity to “meet” some great voice actors entirely through the internet. I’m hesitant to name names because I’m afraid that I’ll forget some–which would lead to awkward emails–but suffice to say, I truly do love the VO community. If you know where to go, you’ll find some of the friendliest, most knowledgeable, most giving, and most informed people–who will be more than happy to give you their opinion on the industry, whether it’s friendly and informative or grim but honest.
So why not appreciate that by giving a reason for your connection? Why attempt to make connections with people that are not going to make use of the connection in any way, shape, or form? I hate to pick on the stock invitation for Linkedin, but in my mind it is that eleven-word phrase that sums up what annoys me most about connecting for no reason. ‘Cause think about it for a sec. If you were going about your daily business in real life, would you ever respond positively to something like this?
“Oh, hey, how you doi–”
“I’m doin’ fine, so I can I say that I know you?”
“Well ya’ know, uh…just ’cause.”
That’s the “conversation” that I hear every single time in my head when somebody just sends the stock Linkedin invitation. It doesn’t send me into a furious rage, not by any means. It’s just…a tad annoying.
For the record, I’m not saying that one has to know the people they’re connecting with like they’re siblings. Like I said, I’ve met some wonderful people online who, in the interest of honesty, I probably will never meet in real life purely because of geographic distance. The other day I got an invitation from somebody I’ve never met who simply wrote…
“Thank you for posting [your audioblog entry] ‘Aiming From the Hip.’ I enjoyed listening to your read. Incidentally, you are quite correct regarding how an officer aims for his target. However, not unlike the Fictional Western Hero, the officer is merely hoping to hit …something.
Okay, so, first and foremost–thank you, Eric Anderson! 🙂
Secondly, see how simple that was? I’ve never met Eric, and–again, purely for geographic reasons–probably won’t. In spite of that, he offered to connect with me on Linkedin because he was thankful for me posting a blog entry that he enjoyed (I KNEW officers aimed from eye level!). Gestures like that, simple and short as they are, are all I’m asking for, especially on business-related social media sites like Linkedin.
However, the more observant among you may have noticed that the title of this audioblog entry was “(some)” social media sites, and that’s not a typo. When I was just learning about social media with regard to business, I learned that there are, in essence, two possible strategies: connect with as many people as you can to form a vast, wide web of connections, or connect with select, targeted people for specific reasons to cultivate fewer but stronger connections. I tried out the former with Twitter, following a lot of different people so long as they were involved in some sort of media production according to their profiles.
Honestly, in hindsight, I think that was a huge mistake. I’m following thousands of people who didn’t follow me back, and whom I’ve never gonna correspond with. And to top it off, if I get followed by a deal finder from Finland one more time, I’m considering legal action against the Finnish government. At this point, I’m convinced that all those “deal finders” are part of an elaborate spying process, and I got what I deserved for all my mindless following when my Twitter account was…hacked…by somebody offering weight loss solutions. Again, I blame the Finnish government.
Oh, and uh, yeah…if you got one of those tweets from me, sorry…that wasn’t me.
Anyways. I have come to find that I value actual, legitimate connections in social media, not “numbers of followers/friends/people I’m connected to.” Even if the connections are fairly simplistic, I also love meeting new people online, hearing their thoughts, and discussing the industry with them. So by all means, if you want to connect with me, or any other voice actor for that matter, go ahead and do so…just remember to say why.
PS: Thanks again to Eric Anderson for allowing me to use his invitation as an example. While you guys are at it, check out his website here!