“You might say it is highly unlikely that we would make the same mistake twice.” – Robert Luz
On signing up to any social network, a page comes where they will ask you to add your friends who are already on the network and email those who aren’t. At a few clicks of the mouse, we’re able to announce to everyone that we’re on so–and- so network and invite them over to have a conversation.
These emailing techniques are successful more often than not. I remember I would have continued to use Rediffmail as a webmail service hadn’t someone invited me to Gmail first (in those days it was on invitation only). Now thanks to that, I’ve made Gmail my default account. On Facebook, among my friends, I’m ranked no.3 for inviting people over to Facebook. Which means a lot of people accepted my invitations and joined Facebook. Email invitations usually don’t harm the user too much.
However there was this occasion just week ago, when this medium backfired. I was on LinkedIn and was trying to figure out how to bring my profile to ‘100% completeness’. The option came up to invite people to the network which I did after allowing it access to my email account. I clicked a few buttons and invited as usual the contacts in my email. Here’s what happened next:
- Everyone in my email account got the invitation. And these were people who didn’t even know me (since I email a lot of people overseas for church work). They began sending me emails saying why they couldn’t come on LinkedIn and stuff. I had kind of made unprofessional conversation with people who’d considered me strangers, although ironically the emails were for a professional network.
- Customer Support: Vodafone and SanDisk customer support emailed me back saying that they’d sort my issues shortly. I’m guessing the other customer supports that are on my email and didn’t reply probably saw my email had a laugh at it.
- Emailing the Chief Minister: Responsible citizens may keep their politicians email addresses nearby, and I know I had kept the Chief Minister’s to email something on the floods a few years back. The email, I’m sure got to him too. “Dear Chief Minister, Neil wants to add you on his network”.
- Email updates: I have set up email updates via Facebook and twitter. Now this is really annoying. LinkedIn even managed to send invitations on those addresses. Next morning I check my profile to see ‘Neil Quadros has invited you to LinkedIn’. Today, it was this –
There was one good thing that came out of this fiasco – a friend of mine who was long lost, got my email on his old address and then got in touch with me. That was really great!
Otherwise, please keep in mind the following when you’re looking to mass invite people to your social networking profile:
- You’ll invite people you wouldn’t know to your social network
- You’re not going to look any smarter by doing it via email
- Your professional contacts might not appreciate the conduct
I think most of us have such gaffes that make us resolve not to do something again. I don’t ever want to mass invite people again.
What do you think about email invitations?