Monday, July 21, 2008

Conversation with a Closed Networker

Conversation between a Closed Networker Lawyer (CLN) and David A. Barrett.

CLN to DAB: I saw your posting of the ABC LinkedIn Lawyer networking group on the ABC Lawyer Listserv, and I would like to join.

DAB to CLN: Welcome CLN. I often see your posts on the ABC Lawyer Listserv, and I am pleased to have you as a part of ABC LinkedIn Lawyer Networking group.
As such, I would like to invite you to connect to my LinkedIn Network.
We can connect here –

CLN to DAB: (no response)

….. days later ….

CLN to DAB: Hello DAB, I would like you to add me to the XYZ Lawyer Networking group.

DAB to CLN: Welcome CLN, and thank you for your membership in the XYZ Lawyer Networking group.

Would you be interested to co-chair the XYZ Lawyer Networking group?

CLN to DAB: Yes, I would love to co-chair the XYZ Lawyer Networking group. Please tell me how.

DAB to CLN: Great CLN, I’m pleased to work with you. Many group co-chairs have their name and profile link on the group description page. Once connected, I can add you as a manager of the group and I can turn your profile link into a tinyurl suitable for posting in the group description page.

We can connect here –

CLN to DAB: (no response)

… days later ….

CLN to DAB: Did you add me as co-chair of the group?

DAB to CLN: Hi CLN, I still have not received your invitation to connect.

CLN to DAB: I must have misunderstood what you meant by connect, and frankly, I find it somewhat offensive that you have conditioned my co-chairing a group with connecting so I’ll pass.

DAB to CLN: (no response)

… days later … .

CLN to DAB: Add me to the 123 Lawyer Networking group, pretty please.

DAB to CLN: I’m pleased to have you in the group CLN.

You know I'm working on a book chapter / course on LinkedIn for lawyers, and I'm just curious about your unwillingness to connect.

Is it that other lawyers could pilfer your clients out of your connections? Did you know that you can make your connections hidden from view?

If you had a chance and wouldn't mind telling me about your LinkedIn philosophy I would appreciate it.

Thank you.


CLN to DAB: I think networking groups work best if people know and approve (think recommend) of those in their network. Therefore adding just every stranger who somehow finds you and asks doesn’t make sense to me. These sites should be focused on quality, not quantity.

DAB to CLN: I can see that, and such is a commonly held view among folks who are not open networkers. There seems to be a continuum as to how open or how closed members networks are managed to be. I would respectfully put you at the far end of the spectrum on the closed network side, as your unwillingness to connect while co-chairing a group is certainly a closed network example that will make my publication (without identifying you of course).

The other side of the what works best (i.e. open/closed network) coin is that websites like LinkedIn provide opportunities for exposure of your profile, product or service and the wider the exposure the better. More connections and more group memberships allow other members to find an environmental lawyer by using the advanced search people function on the home page.

I respect our difference of opinion, but to me and many others the recommendations section of our profile is different than the connections aspect of our profile.

You may also maintain an open network and start a closed group of "inner circle" connections you know well who you contact on and off the LinkedIn site, thereby getting the benefits of a closed network of people one knows well, and the exposure an open network provides.

Nice to get to know you, and thanks for the chat.

CLN to DAB (no response).

… days later …

CLN to DAB I would like to join the 456 Lawyer Networking group ….

(This is a fictional “conversation” created by drawing upon numerous conversations with multiple people. Identifying characteristics may have been changed so as to not publish without authorization.)