When you invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn or receive an invite from someone, the recipient has a choice of accepting the invite or simply archiving the invite without performing any action. If the invite is accepted, the two of you become immediately connected. If the invite is archived, you can always accept the invitation at a later date. However, after you archive an invitation, there is a popup on the bottom lefthand screen of the desktop version that asks you if you know the person or not. When you respond that you don’t know the person, you are sending LinkedIn an “IDK” about that person.
IDK = I Don’t Know This Person
The “I Don’t Know This Person” (hereafter referred to as “IDK” for short) response seems innocent, right? Because you don’t know them, you’d rather not have them in your network. However, the problem is that LinkedIn looks down on these responses as they created their social networking platform for professionals to connect people who know each other but lost touch, not for open networkers. Therefore, if you receive 5 cumulative IDKs you will need to enter an E-Mail address for every invite you send. This means that if you find an old colleague and want to connect but don’t know their most recent E-Mail address, you will be unable to connect and might have to resort to text messaging.
I personally have never responded with an IDK, but I have received my share of them, even from self-professed LinkedIn LIONs and members of LinkedIn groups for open networkers. I believe it is a unwritten but understood rule that LIONs should never respond with an IDK but merely archive any invite they do not want to connect with. You never know when you may want to connect with that contact if you move to a new place or a new industry, so why not just archive it and keep the potential for connecting open? Couldn’t hurt.
As for people who are not open networkers, as I mentioned in my How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network post, you invite them at your own risk. If you do not want to receive invites, I highly recommend that you state so in your profile and/or contact details. If you do not state so, you can assume that you will receive invites. But even if you receive them, please do not punish the sender but merely archive them if you do not want to connect.
The ultimate setting for those that are annoyed by receiving too many invites from LinkedIn users is to require them to enter your email address in order to contact with you.
Looking for more LinkedIn advice? Check out my free ebook on the subject: Maximizing LinkedIn for Business.