Hi! My name is [something cute] and I am 28 and looking for somebody to have a good relationship with. I'd like to know if you are interested?All sorts of ways, that looks like SPAM. Except, well, borderline. The picture on her personal page, for instance, was demur -- pretty, but not sexy, at least, not selling-it-sexy. And it wasn't exactly a cold call. The request for connection which preceded it was a cold call, in the sense that this was someone I did not know. But the message was preceded by the request, so not entirely cold.
Typically, when I get a request for a connection from someone I don't know, I let it sit for a week. The throw-away accounts from which you get spatter-gun solicitation often disappear within a week, either because the owner runs and hides, or because someone has complained.
Being willing to point out abuse of the networking services is part of your responsibility as a user, of course. I've flagged a few users, and will do so again when I see serious abuse.
Even if the account hasn't disappeared, if you check it out, there are certain tell-tales. There usually isn't much there. What's there looks made up and just bare-minimum. It has usually been just recently registered. There's no depth, so it's hard to tell who or what you're looking at. And, of course, certain kinds of solicitation have that tell-tale appeal to the appetites with pictures that could easily be "borrowed" from who-knows-where.
So, it had been a week yesterday, and I thought I wanted to get rid of the nag. I checked out her personal page and it has reasonable depth. The photos are decent, she has friends who also have pages, and she has a link to an employer who is on LinkedIn and Facebook. She has a nice LinkeIn/Facebook persona to lose if I flag it for abuse.
So I think maybe she's a member of my church, maybe she's a missionary I've forgotten. Or maybe she's interested in the novel that I've been writing but am currently spinning my wheels on, trying to figure out a way to make a profit. Maybe I can connect and let her tell me why she wanted to connect.
So I accepted the invitation to connect yesterday. Today I found the above message waiting for me on LinkedIn messaging -- in French. (Google translate made a hash of it, but did well enough to both English and Japanese that I'm pretty confident of the translation.
So I just went back and looked at her personal page on LinkedIn and, actually, the pages only seem to go back two weeks.
I'm a little disappointed, but this gives me a good basis for a rant on this particular sort of misuse of social networking.
The advantage of social networking sites is that you do have the option of cutting a connection, and of reporting abuse.
But I'm not going to do that yet. Google Translate is not perfect. Maybe this is not a faked persona constructed two weeks ago for the purpose of defrauding lonely old men. A ten percent chance is worth a bit of follow-up. Try to ask if she really meant it the way Google Translate translated it.
But I will, of course, not give the person/people on the other end of this any information they can't find from my public profile -- not even an e-mail address.
(I'll post later on how it turned out, but it should not matter.)
I'm thinking I want to post some pointers on cold calls.
But I realize that I'm not particularly good at them. My sales approaches get ignored. If I try to do cold calls with my résumé, out looking for work, I never make it past the first secretary in HR. My mailed résumés often don't even get acknowledged. (Yes, I've sought professional help with this. It doesn't seem to make any difference.)
The only specific advice I can offer seems to be negative: Don't do it this way.
If you like a blog post, and want to actually establish a conversational relationship with the person who posted it, responding on the blog itself is a good start if comments are enabled. If you make contact via e-mail or SNS, make sure you mention that blog post early, preferably with the URL.
And I want to suggest to the spatter-gun solicitors with no real product that they get a real, legitimate product. Abstract product is okay. Just don't use deception to get money without giving a product in return. Getting money that way only leaves you desperate again for money tomorrow or next week.
And be patient. Legitimate relationships, business, friendship, or otherwise, take time to establish.