The New Face of Promiscuity

Random linking and network building lessens the usefulness of Web 2.0 applications.

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How can you be promiscuous online? Through indiscriminate linking and networking on sites like LinkedIn.

Social promiscuity dilutes the value of Web 2.0 connections. Even the networks themselves are opposed to it. Kay Luo, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, recently told the New York Times: "We try to discourage promiscuous linking."

Luo does not, however, discourage elitism.

"People usually invite up—people above them in hierarchy," said Ms. Luo. "When you're talking about a professional network, quality is so important."

I found this post from Dan York, which offers a helpful rundown on just why indiscriminate LinkedIn linking (or Facebook friend-ing) is a problem. One point York makes: What happens if you accept an invitation from someone you don't know and, one day, they ask you for an introduction to someone in your network?

I don't know him. I have never met or communicated with him. How can I say to someone that I do know that they should actually talk to this person? Perhaps he may be a complete jerk who may act unethically toward the person to whom I have forwarded his information. Now that person, who again I do know, will have less trust in me because I passed along some idiot's request.

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social networking