Gently ditching Friends & Family on LinkedIn

li-fbWhen I first joined LinkedIn a decade ago, MySpace was King. Facebook was just starting to take its first toddler steps into the big wide world. Nobody had apps on their phones yet, and mainstream society didn’t really get “social media” (still putting it in quotes frequently).

So, like most folks, I added friends & family on LinkedIn.

And, like most folks, now I regret this…

LinkedIn is for professional relationships, we all agree on this, right? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m friends with some very unprofessional people whom I happen to love dearly. These people tend to take it personally when I don’t want to connect with them EVERYwhere, because they don’t understand why I wouldn’t. “We’re friends right?” or better yet “We’re family!” These otherwise lovely folks think my LinkedIn feed should be full of kittens and babies and politics and jokes — just like Facebook. (Sigh…)

Even though I spell out the difference for folks on my profile itself, it doesn’t seem to help:

Enough is Enough.

Perhaps you, like me, have so many connections on LinkedIn that it doesn’t even bother counting them anymore. I could click “remove connection” for hundreds of friends and still show “500+”. I also have 50+ new invitations from friends waiting for me connect right now too, and I haven’t had the heart to respond. Until today.

Today is the day I start to educate/disappoint these people. That sounds like a lot of fun, now doesn’t it? So will you join me?

Find 5 people in your Connections right now that you:

  1. Have never worked with;
  2. Never plan to work with; and
  3. Aren’t even in the same working world as you are.

I’m committing to culling 5 connections like this every week, until further notice. Below is the template that I will copy & paste into every message that I send to those I leave behind (with some customization of course). Recycle it as you see fit. I’d also really love your input in the comments!

Dearest {insert name here},

I’m very happy to know you and am interested in maintaining our connection in the world, and on the web. But I’m changing the way I use LinkedIn. Now I’m making it more for the stuffy, corporate kinds of connections that help my career. I don’t think of you that way, and would prefer we continue our friendship on Facebook instead. That’s really the best place for me to stay in touch these days.
So in case you’re wondering, that’s why I am removing our connection on this platform. Nothing personal, I still like you! I look forward to connecting more over in Facebook-land…

Sam Rogers

What about this strikes a chord with you? What about it scares you? Any improvements to make to the above template? Please tell me!