Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


It’s a message I sometimes dread.

Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

At least 50 percent of the time, it’s someone I don’t know.

This message has now become a punchline.

It used to be said that every New Yorker cartoon could be summarized by: “Christ, what an asshole!”

Now, as The Atlantic reports, some are wondering whether, in our modern, gadget-addled times “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” is another appropriate caption that fits all cartoons.

Here, then, are my seven favorite, most appallingly embarrassing things that people do on LinkedIn. These things make me laugh. They may well make you cry.

1. Straight After Connecting With You, They Try And Sell You Something.

This is always, always done by someone I don’t know. They connect. They tell you they “love your work.” Then they invite you to a networking event that costs a mere $75 for sandwich a glass of quasi-chardonnay from a box. These people have no shame. May I submit that they have no game either?

2. Straight After Connecting With You, They Ask You To Connect Them With The Person They Really Want To Connect With.

LinkedIn encourages this malarkey. It displays degrees of separation between you and the people you would love to have in your network list. So you get a charming “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message. Because you’re a decent sort, you accept it. Immediately you get a request from the same person: “Hi, I’d like to add this other person to my professional network on LinkedIn, but I’m too shy to ask. But I see you know them, so could you do me the honors?” Um, no.

3. They Pretend They Didn’t Hate You In High School Or College.

There are those who decide that, no matter what happened in the past, if you might be useful to them now they will try and connect with you. They don’t care that in the past they might have slighted you, despised you, or even tried to steal your lover. If, to them, you’re somebody now, the message arrives: “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” And I’d like you to add you to my blocked list.

4. They Start Liking Things You Post. Everything You Post.

LinkedIn encourages insidious behavior. It gives you so many options. One involves the supposedly subtle form of affection: The “Like” button. Just one click of that and they think you’ll believe they’re a fan. Yes, once upon a time you worked with them and they did everything they could to make your career enjoy a downward spiral. But now you might be a useful connection, so, like, like, like and “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

5. They Want You To Sell Something For Them. For Free.

I occasionally write things for public consumption in various places. Ergo, some people try and contact me through LinkedIn and tell me just how much they admire my work. (Thank you! Thank you!) Immediately, my suspicion-meter registers an 8.4 on the Richter Scale. But deeply flattered, I accept the invitation to connect. Unfailingly, I get this in hurtling reply: “Hi, I’m just launching this amazing app that lets you remove nasal hair, just by using your iPhone. It would be great if you could write about it in your column.” Would it?

6. They Write Articles. Lots Of Articles. Too Many Articles.

It’s astonishing how many “solutions” to things you can find on LinkedIn. If you bother to look, that is. I firmly believe that if you put everyone who’s ever written an article for the site together, you’d have a committee that could solve every single world problem. Oddly, a proliferation of such articles in my feed follows quite closely after I get the message: “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

7. They’re Desperate To Get Past The 500 Connections Mark.

There are only two types of people on LinkedIn: Those who have at least 500 connections. And those who don’t. You see, after 500 it just says: “500 .” You could have 501, but you’re now among the elite. At least in your head you are. And that’s where LinkedIn matters most. In your head.