By Stephen Rynkiewicz
10:30 AM CDT, August 25, 2011
It might be time to write those recommendations your LinkedIn contacts have been requesting. It's the right thing to do.
"Treat each request with the same respect you would in 'the real world'," says a report from the staffing agency Robert Half, "Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age."
That means recommending only people you know and trust, avoiding quid pro quo appearances, and writing personal requests that your connections recommend you rather than blasting a form message to everyone on your list.
The Robert Half paper sets protocols for a range of social media, from Facebook and Twitter to e-mail and mobile applications.
"Be human when tweeting," an admonition to use a conversational tone, is a typical recommendation, and being human is the main take-away: The basic rules of relationships apply, and eye-to-eye is still best for delivering bad news.
LinkedIn and other professional networks get special attention. Complete a profile with key accomplishments, the report suggests, explain your interests when asking for connections, and participate in discussion groups to establish your authority and concern.
The author (who credits a half-dozen sources, including Janet Aronica and Laura Fitton of social media site oneforty.com) warns against "hyper networkers" and advises users not to use direct messages unless a personal connection is in place.
"Don't invite strangers to your network merely to make it larger," the report says, "and don't be offended when those you've never met or vaguely know ignore your requests."