Who Are You Connected To, and Does It Matter?

Did You View My LinkedIn Profile?

How often do you research who you invite as LinkedIn connections, or accept invitations from?

How often do you research the LinkedIn groups you join, or who you let join your LinkedIn groups?

On-line is all about Credibility, Trust, and Your Brand, and that includes your LinkedIn profile, your photo, your headline, your current and past employment, your status changes, the number of connections you have and who you are connected to, your education, the number of recommendations you have what they say and who made them, your websites, your summary, your specialties, the applications (SlideShare, Reading List, Blogs, Box.net files, Google presentations, etc.), your skills, your publications, your certifications, your interests, your achievements and awards, the groups you have joined, the groups you started, the members of your groups, and your LinkedIn public profile (you should customize it).

The last post was about building your credibility and trust through your facebook page and your LinkedIn profile.  If you have worked (or trying to work) to build your online credibility and trust,  then you need to guard it by being sure “Who” you are connected to, and what Groups you join do not detract from what you’ve built.

Your Brand can be compared to what people remember you by.  When you think of Crest, do you immediately think of toothpaste?  Are your immediate thoughts about Crest good or bad?  How about Tylenol?  Is your immediate thought about a “safe pain reliever”, or about the product recalls they had many years ago.  Tylenol’s parent company immediately reacted to the product tampering years ago, and after recalling their product from store shelves, they proceeded to lead the pharmaceutical and food industry in tamper resistant product packaging.  Their quick actions guarded their brand from what could have been devastating to the brand name.  Now Tylenol is one of the most trusted pain relievers on the market.  Think about the ministries and denominations that have suffered image setbacks, how have they reacted and how did it affect their brand, credibility, and trust.  How about those closely connected to them, have they also lost credibility?  Could who we are connected to hurt our brand?  I think the answer for most of us is, it depends on who we are, what our brand is, how much credibility and trust our reputation has gained, and who we are talking about being connected to.  For most of us, the wrong connections have the potential to influence our brand, our credibility, and our trust.

The bottom line is we should be more concerned with what God has called us to do in the kingdom and what He thinks about us, than what others think about us.  If he has called us to witness to drug addicts, then we will probably be connected to them.  If he has called us to spread the Gospel to the unsaved, then we will be connected to them.  But if He has called us to be Light and Salt, then we must avoid those with the opposite mission, or those that will detract from our calling.

I personally want to be able to talk about and teach spiritual warfare principals without worrying who I might offend, so when I am invited to connect to someone I check out their profile.  I check to see that our theology is compatible.  If the Holy Spirit prompts me to “consider” connecting to someone who I think might have a different theology, I ask their permission to accept their invitation “knowing that I have some views that they might find offensive”.  Most have been unaware they have ‘portrayed’ a different image or brand than they want to have.  Several have used words like “holistic, spiritual wisdom, spiritualism, unity, etc., that raise a red flag.  I first ask for clarification of their beliefs, and then make a decision on connecting based on what the Holy Spirit directs.  I also look at what groups potential connections are members of.  I don’t worry much about the industry or networking groups, but look for Christian groups to give me an idea of their theology and involvement.  I also look for obvious cult focused groups like masonic or freemasons groups, mormon’s, latter day saints (LDS), or any obvious occult names.  I rarely receive invitations from potential connections with those group memberships, but I do look before accepting invitations.

I also believe the groups I am members of tell a lot about me, so I am careful to join groups that represent my brand, and that I have a personal interest in.  I not only read the group profile and rules, but I think the group owner and managers have a strong influence on the group, so I check them out before joining.

I also check out every group request to join “Linked4Ministry” and the “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn groups that I started.  I look to see who the person is, and whether they are appropriate members for the group.  It’s really my choice, but I try to follow what I’ve put in the group rules.  Both are Christian only groups and I don’t tolerate offensive or opposing views to protect the other members.  By filtering who joins, I feel I can allow members to participate without my having to approve their postings and discussions before they show up.  I have also chosen to allow “promotions” of products and events (under the promotions tab) that fit the group’s focus.  I do not allow discussions or promotions that promote multi-level marketing or get-rich-quick schemes, and do not hesitate to change the status of a member to require moderation or block them from participating, or even delete any member that detracts from the group or doesn’t follow the rules.

After doing all those things to safeguard my brand, my credibility, and my trust, I also try to participate in group discussions that I can add value to, and that will help build my brand.  If the discussions get too far out of bounds or end up being just an argument, I stop following them.

Here’s a LinkedIn punch list for things to remember:

  • For Invitations you receive – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For invitations you send – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For groups you join – look at the group profile, rules, and owner & manager’s profiles.
  • For the groups you start – clarify the group profile and the group rules, and look at the profile of those requesting to join.

Here’s a list of helpful LinkedIn instructions:

  • How to View Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “View Profile”
  • How to Edit Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “Edit Profile”.
  • How to View the Profile of a LinkedIn Invitation – Click on “Inbox”, click on “Invitations”, and click on the person’s name.
  • How to Ask a Question before Accepting an Invitation – Let your mouse hover over the blue “Accept” button and Click on the “Send a Message” drop down to the right of the Accept button.
  • How to View a Group Profile before you Join – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”.
  • How to View the Group Owner or Manager’s Profile – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”, Click on the Owner or Manager’s blue name on the right side.
  • How to View the Profile of a Request to Join a Group You Started – Let your mouse hover over “Groups” in the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “Your Groups”, click on any “Green Circles with a number inside”, Click on the request’s name.
  • How to “Un-Connect” from a LinkedIn Connection – Let your mouse hover over “Connections” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “My Connections”, Click on the “Remove Connection” tab at the top right, select the connections you wish to remove, and click on “Remove Connections”,
  • How to see who’s viewed your profile – Let your mouse hover over “Home” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “LinkedIn Home”, on the right side of the screen, under “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”, Click on the “Your profile has been viewed by x people in the past x days”, then Click on the names in blue.  Note, what you see is based on what those viewing your profile have chosen to tell you; only the “number” of people you see is based on whether you have a paid or free LinkedIn account.

In Summary

What our LinkedIn profile represents, who we are connected to, what we say, and almost everything we do is being watched and can represent a brand or image that we didn’t want to portray.  Well intended messages, connections, and group connections might not be received or interpreted the way we intended.  An extra measure of caution and always seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance will keep us on the path that God intends so we can accomplish His will in our lives.

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

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