I’ve found the older I get, the more time I spend scrolling on Linkedin. I love celebrating the accomplishments of my friends, keeping tabs on any industry updates, and searching for job opportunities for a soon-to-be college graduate.
For the most part, my experience has been positive. I’ve had interviews through a connection reaching out to me and have learned a lot from the posts of people in my desired industry. The whole goal is expanding your network and so I try to do just that.
I accept my connection requests without much thought, just noticing the industries of the people requesting me and their names. I don’t mind expanding my network even if I do not know the individual personally -- most of the time, they have mutual connections to those that I am friends with. Besides, it adds some more variety to my Linkedin feed and an opportunity for my own connections to connect with someone in their industry.
It wasn’t long after that I saw a message pop up in my inbox. Thinking an exciting job opportunity may await me, I eagerly clicked on the name to see it was a man whose request I accepted.
“I was scrolling through the people I might know section and happened to spot your profile and thought I’d send the invite along. To be honest it was your friendly smile that caught my eye. I think since this whole pandemic hit and life has been so bizarre I’ve been noticing things I would have passed by before like a friendly peaceful smile.”
I didn’t respond and immediately removed him from my connections.
Someone reading this may view my action as being harsh or jumping to conclusions. It isn’t the most offensive thing that has ever come across a woman’s inbox, but it was enough to leave me feeling annoyed and confused. This is a business networking site -- not a dating app. My accomplishments or skills or classes should have caught your eye, not my profile picture.
It turns out this experience is far more common than I realized. The next day, a post came across my feed detailing a similar interaction a woman had in her inbox. The post had gone viral with women commenting on their own experiences with men asking them to go on dates or complimenting their profile image.
It’s hard enough for women to be taken seriously in the business world. Linkedin is supposed to be a site dedicated to networking, job opportunities, and growing professionally. You’ve downloaded the wrong app if you think otherwise. Please slide into my DMs only with job opportunities or productive comments on my professional experience.