It takes quite a bit to coax out the cranky side of me.

Some sample scenarios: seemingly bright souls who fail to see the humorous relevance of “irregardless” in certain contexts; running across mention of the Red Sox collapse in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series; and getting yet another LinkedIn invitation from someone I’ve never met.

Of that irksome threesome, the last happens with alarming frequency. So from time to time I feel it my social-media duty to rail against it in the spirit of promoting common sense, basic 21st century etiqutte and sound interpersonal practices.

If you are guilty of inviting people to link-in with you–and you have never met (either in person or in cyberspace), then stop!

With every impersonal, mud-on-the-wall LinkedIn invitation, you are communicating laziness, sloppiness and presumptuousness. Those are the hardly the traits to get you off on the best footing.

If you’ve not met someone and you think you’d be a good LinkedIn candidate, then go ahead, tell them so–but be sure to provide context or indication of how such a connection would be mutually beneficial.

I have written at length about LinkedIn, mostly via posts here on Tips From the Inside Edge, and the theme I keep returning to: treat people like individuals, not some additional notch in your Cyber-Rolodex belt.

Another tip I’d offer: make the effort to provide meaningful recommendations of people with whom you are LinkedIn—add value, so that it’s not about a quantity of connections, but a high quality of any given connection.

I’ve made more than 60 recommendations and it not only benefits those I recommend, but also showcases my ability to string a few cogent thoughts together (on good days)–a rather relevant “show, don’t tell” element when one is in the public relations and communications industry.

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