Linkedin Etiquette

LinkedIn Etiquette: Don’t Be A Whiner Or Baby


LinkedIn is a business network.

It is not Facebook, nor is it kindergarten. But there are a growing number of people on LinkedIn who seem to want to ban people from doing business on LinkedIn, and just have nice, non-business discussions.

Well, here are a few etiquette tips people should know when dealing with LinkedIn:

1. LinkedIn is a business site, NOT a personal one. This is why we  don’t have pictures of people drunk, in bathing suits, or hanging with friends, but pictures of people in suits and ties and the like. We do business on this site. If you don’t want to do business, go to Facebook or some other site. Those of us who are serious are here to do business.

2. You do not have the right to not be offended by what you don’t want to see in your Inbox. If you don’t want to get notifications from your groups, turn off that option. Go to your group. Go to the second tier bounce bar. Select “More.” Select “Settings.” Turn off group notifications. It is that simple. Then when you want to look at the group, go there. See? No more pesky e-mail clogging up your Inboxes.

3. Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean it’s SPAM. Many people enjoy seeing posts about employment or events. Those looking for jobs especially enjoy seeing posts about employment and networking events. Just because you don’t want to see it doesn’t make it SPAM. If you’re interested in a discussion or article, read it. If not, click past it. You don’t have the right to deny someone who might be unemployed help through an article about employment, or event unless you’re the group owner.

4. Unless you’re the group owner, don’t move a discussion. It is both unethical and immoral to do so. Don’t. Let people decide for themselves if something is useful or not.

5. People are going to utilize you if you’re connected to them. Sending out an update to your 1st degree network is not SPAM, nor is it a “mass e-mail list.” If you don’t want to know about the people you’re connected with, don’t connect with them. If you’re going to be connected to someone, you’ve gotta help them.

6. Your opinion is not the only one. All of us can be wrong. Believing differently doesn’t make one wrong nor a demon.

7. If you’re nasty, expect nasty responses. Although I usually reply to nastiness pretty mildly, many people don’t and you aren’t in your rights to expect them to.

8. Don’t deliberately anger someone well-known and well-connected unless you’re willing to take the consequences. If you are stupid enough to torque off someone who has loads of connections in your city and is very well-respected, you probably deserve the closing of doors that will happen to you. Just a few words from someone well-connected can ruin your career before it gets started. A word to the wise.

LinkedIn is the real world.

It isn’t Facebook. It isn’t Twitter. It is a live ammo game, and the game is business. If you aren’t ready to follow proper LinkedIn etiquette, run home to mommy before you get hurt. If you want to play, put on your big boy or girl pants and play by the rules.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

John Heckers

John Heckers is president of Heckers Development Group, LTD, a consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado, specializing in Strategic Executive Coaching.


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  2. Guys, I’m not surprise that Rip Torn is detached from reality. Remember the 5 D’s: 1) Dodge 2) Duck 3) Dip 4) Dive 5) Dodge. Thanks Rip.

  3. Do you use this same arrogant tone in your business dealings? if so, I’m glad I don’t work for you. By the way, if this is a business site strictly for business, as you must have reiterated 20 times, then nobody should be hitting on anyone; just as this is not facebook, it is also not

  4. Poorly researched. Stalking is an issue in Linked In. I’ve personally known many people, not just women, who were victims of stalking. Expecting a safe environment on a professional networking site is not unreasonable. Let alone “whining.” I found this article exceedingly unprofessional, especially its take on the stalking issue.

  5. “6. Stop being a photo baby. Put up a photo. If you’re a woman and scared of stalkers — get over yourself. There has not been even one case of a stalker on LinkedIn. If there is, report it as a TOS violation. But don’t hold your breath waiting for one.

    7. Don’t take offense if someone “hits” on you personally. Someone may like you personally, especially if you have your marital status up as “single,” and ask you out. If interested, go! If not, a simple “no thank you” will suffice. If the person is persistent and won’t take “no” for an answer, see above about the TOS violations. Don’t get all whiney and offended because someone gives you the compliment of liking you for heaven’s sake!”

    The editor who decided that these pieces of “advice” were fit to print deserves a serious reprimand–one more strike and they should be OUT. (And you should consider that reprimand as GIVEN, buddy.) The author who felt enough conviction to type this outrageously blasé and offensive disregard for women does not deserve the opportunity to publish any further pieces. Not only are these points factually inaccurate, they are out of touch with the experiences of people who have been victimized online. If this site is supposed to be “CareeREALISM,” then this guy needs to check back in to earth. Stalking is a very serious reality, and business women face particular challenges in attempting to promote themselves and their career interests while avoiding the psychological abuse and physical danger associated with stalking. This isn’t about people being “touchy” or “unable to take a compliment”–this is about the very real fear that attempting to network professionally can put these women at risk.

  6. Stalking via LinkedIn isn’t something women should just “get over.” Stalking is a serious problem and illegal. Your article is putting women at further risk by belittling a very real danger. This article is unprofessional, irresponsible, and obviously written without adequate research.

  7. Your solution to women (or anyone) who is concerned about stalking is “get over it”? As someone who has been a victim of LI stalking, I find your advice offensive and ultimately dangerous. I think others here have explained the error of your “logic” pretty well so I’ll let that stand.

    It’s #7 that made me laugh aloud, though. You rant about how LI isn’t Facebook, but then if someone hits on you, it’s totally cool. You’re pretty self-contradictory, and assertions #6 and #7 would seem to indicate you are pro-harassment on LI. You just painted yourself as a real creep. Good job, bro.

  8. Mr. Heckers,

    While I appreciate your advise for using LinkedIn, I am extremely concerned about the tone you took in addressing stalking and sexual harassment. Your advice to a woman concerned about posting, to stop being a “photo baby” is unhelpful and victim blaming. Your recommendation that women should be flattered when they are complemented on their looks, dismisses the the need to be treated as equal professionals.

    With regards to stalking, you immediately state that it is the fault of women, that they are concerned about stalking. Women should just “get over” themselves. You recommend filing a report, but not to “hold your breath” for a satisfactory response. Further, you assert that there has never been a case of stalking on LinkedIn.

    Stalking is not an imagined problem. For many people, stalking is of real concern, and a serious risk. Every year, over 3.3 million people are stalked, and this form of harassment occurs through both virtual and real world platforms (USDOJ – Your statement that there has never been a case of stalking on LinkedIn, could not be farther from reality. In recent months, there have been a multitude of reports about stalking and sexual harassment on LinkedIn – in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, and Jezebel (,,

    Sexual harassment is a serious threat that mostly affects women. On LinkedIn, a website for developing professional networks, it is NEVER appropriate to comment on someone’s looks. Women should be given enough respect to be judged on their personal and professional accomplishments – not how appealing they are too men. Although these concepts might seem obvious, many women have received harassing messages through the website. There is even a Tumblr – dedicated to sharing inappropriate messages from LinkedIn.

    Sexual harassment is never the fault of a victim. No one asks to be stalked, sexually harassed, or mistreated. Rather than spending time blaming victims and telling them that they are overreacting, please consider how your words shape the culture. I’d be very interested in seeing articles about “10 Ways How Not to be a Stalker on LinkedIn”, or “Writing Messages on LinkedIn: Professionalism is Key”.

    Yana List
    IX Network

  9. Good article for the most part – but that bit about stalking? Did you even do a cursory Google search for “linkedin” and “stalking”? You’ll find plenty of results. Stalking is serious – and very frightening. It’s easy for you to tell someone to get over themselves if you have never experienced this. Try to have a little more empathy and compassion in the future, please.

  10. This is a seriously misguided article–and completely unprofessional. How do you reconcile championing Linkedin as a professional group, and then turn around and tell someone to ‘get over it’ if they’re repeatedly propositioned for dates? In what world is that professional? This feels like it was written by an angst-ridden teenager and I’m shocked that the editor thought it would add anything helpful or positive on this site. Please remove it immediately.

  11. I’m very concerned to see you treat stalking as something people ought to “get over.” Stalking is a deeply scarring experience for people of all gender identities. It is NOT a compliment; it is a crime. I’m disturbed that this post is associated with LinkedIn.

  12. Excuse me? Get over being stalked? LinkedIn does in fact have a stalker problem and by belittling this issue you are putting real people into harm’s way.

  13. It seems to me like you have some conflicting advice in this article. As you state, “LinkedIn is a business site, NOT a personal one.” Then why on earth is it appropriate for people to use the site to hit on women? I have had a LinkedIn account for about three months, and I have already received seven messages from men asking me out – three of them were pretty sexually explicit and one suggested that he would like to “rape me.” I reported all of them, but to no success.

    If we are talking about LinkedIn etiquette, I would hope that you would use your platform to flip number 7 around and say “Do not use LinkedIn to hit on women.” As you point out, there are many other alternatives for more personal networking.

  14. Hey “John.” Please don’t tell women to “get over themselves” when being afraid of stalkers unless you, too, have been a female stalked. Because you just have no idea.

  15. There actually have been cases of LinkedIn stalking and it is not up to the stalkee (woman, man, or trans) to “get over”. Stalking is a CRIME, not a nuisance, which means it is the responsibility of the stalker to not stalk and it’s the responsibility of LinkedIn to help victims of stalking gain more control over their privacy settings (something they are currently drastically neglecting). In fact, LinkedIn has a well-documented stalker problem and it is irresponsible of you to overlook it and put the burden on stalkees to “get over”:

  16. Great article. I will use it when I hear people complain about social media. You stated it very well. “Your opinion is not the only one.” There are way too many people who assume that their thoughts are, or should be, shared by everyone.

  17. Someone got offended because they got “hit” on? Oh to be young again! If anyone wants to tell me they like my picture or something I will be complemented!

  18. My goodness – sounds like you were pretty ticked off when you wrote this, John! While I agree that some people are too sensitive, and I want to keep LinkedIn professional, I think that your telling women who are afraid of stalkers that they should just “get over yourself” is pretty harsh. As you know, some women have very legitimate reasons to be afraid of stalkers. And really, “If you are stupid enough to torque off someone…” That’s not very professional. Come to think of it, this whole list is just you – whining! Perhaps you should take a few deep breaths and accept people for who they are: flawed human beings who are trying their best to make it from day to day (just like you). In other words? Try to relax!

  19. And if you want security and privacy, close your linkedin account. As Mr. Hoffman said at Davos, “Privacy is for old folks”

  20. This was a great article and pointed out a lot of great tips to use on I really enjoyed this article and I have been on for a little over a year and I can honestly say it has helped me in some different ways especially by Networking and finding great companies to follow and job leads. I can also say I might be getting back to work next month because of the so for me is pure business. I also only use and Goggle+ these days because a few of my accounts have been hacked into last year. My advise would be to people who use is you are serious about being successful in your profession then is the site you want to be on and use in a Mature Manner!

  21. Great Article John.

    I like teaching people to stop whining when they see or hear something on social media they don’t like.
    There are Spammers on LinkedIn, the real ones need to be Flagged (no one else moderates LinkedIn folks, it’s our job).
    However, as you said, most of the data is focused to the diverse and broad needs & interests of 230M people and we just have to watch the “stream” for what’s needed & interesting to ourselves. Paying attention to who creates this kind of content is how we discover fabulous ideas that we would never have thought of on our own.

    Thanks for sharing John.

  22. John…Great etiquette tips for Linked In…and for life / living in general! I wish more would adopt your advice, not simply on Linked In, but in the rest of their daily activities…

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