The Dark Side of the Network

The network is strong in this one. I feel its power all around me.I'm a big fan of LinkedIn. I generally take LinkedIn's advice and only connect with people I know. I'm not the most conservative LinkedIn user, but I am not nearly as promiscuous with my connections as many people are.Because I've been participating on mailing lists for discussing how to use LinkedIn for networking, I get a lot of invitations from the more promiscuous folks. It's usually easy to decline them with my usual form letter. Not only does it clearly say in my LinkedIn profile that I won't connect with strangers, but I discuss in detail on these mailing lists why I want to get to know someone before I connect with them. So, blammo, they're declined.But I've been talking with some of these guys lately who are sending the invitations. I mean, I'm not opposed to meeting new people. Talking to them about their networking strategies helps me better understand networking in general. A few of them give pitiful pleas for me to accept their invitation. But many make seductive arguments for going for the big numbers of connections, for taking a positive and accepting approach with people. Some of their reasoning make sense. These are real people now, not just boilerplate invitations that I can toss aside without a thought. Oh no! I'm being drawn toward the dark side of the force, I mean, network!I'm holding my ground. Reading Scott Allen's writings helps to bring me back on the straight and narrow. But I feel like I'm losing my grip on the quality side of the quality vs. quantity debate. Don't let me go over to the dark side! I don't want to have pages full of connections and not know who any of them are. Someone save me!