Zombie Relationships: Facebook & Linkedin!

Recently someone told me that they don’t read any emails coming from Linkedin and suggested me to contact them directly via their emails instead through Linkedin messaging.

That got me thinking about the connections and friends we have built in the past half a dozen or so years – via Linkedin & Facebook.

There is a reason why I try to contact my Linkedin contacts via Linkedin messaging – the fear that the person will not even recognize my email if I send a direct email. At least if I send it via Linkedin, they can quickly look at my background and at least realize that I am part of their Linkedin contacts. That’s travesty but that’s true.

Why did we come to where we are today …….

Linkedin was one of the first social networks I embraced despite joining many others that came before that. Like me, most of the first wave of Linkedin users were very eager to connect and link with others – on just the criteria of being on the same network. It was the “in” thing for all of us – professionals and students like.

While people who are already Linkedin users were lot more cautious when accepting friend requests via Facebook, most of the users who are new to social networks were lot more accepting towards Facebook requests. Similar behavior persisted on Linkedin as well from first time social network users.

At a broad level, most of the connections have fallen into one of these categories –

  • Connected with people you knew in real world until that point - emotional connections.
  • Connected with anyone you met at a networking event or party – in hopes of a job or date or some short term incentive – opportunistic connections.
  • Connected with anyone who are contacts by situation – like your college acquaintances, your current girl friend’s/boy friend’s friends, etc – situational connections.
  • Connected due to obligations – your friends friends, your office colleagues, your boss etc – obligatory connections. 

This overly complacent behavioral patterns led to couple of scenarios –

1. Even thought you are connected to people on Linkedin and Facebook – you are not emotionally connected with them – even as casual acquaintances.

2. Due to emotionless connections – over the years – with growing & changing socio, economic, cultural & geographical parities (fact of life) between the so called “friends/contacts”,  these so called friends turned short of fiends.

Due to the above reasons – our situational, obligatory & opportunistic connections have turned into sour puss within our existing connections. Now its too late – so, some of us have deliberately removed such contacts from our networks and others have left them like old pair of sneakers – neither useful nor do we have the heart to part with them. These are Zombie relationships – you cannot get rid of them and you cannot ignore them either.


– One of those Zombies for my contacts!

This blog is inspired by two new startups I recently ran into – Mingle (http://www.mingle.com) and Pearescope (http://www.Pearescope.com). Founders in both the startsup are solving a very important aspect of social networking & relationships. Certainly check them out.

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