Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 18, 2012

Linking up with strangers

Dick Wolfsie
guest columnist

— It was an exciting week for me. I’ve received more than 500 con-gratulatory emails. What had I done to deserve this recognition? I didn’t have the foggiest idea.

It all began with an appointment to meet a local businessman about a speech I was to give to his company. I logged onto my computer and went to a well-known site to see if there was any information about this CEO. I had joined LinkedIn back in 2007, but I tired of it very quickly because it appeared to have similar people who were on Facebook, only many of the LinkedIn members were actually looking for work, rather than wasting time on the Internet while at work.

For several years, I ignored all requests for others to “link” with me, so my password had become inactive. This seemed fair because “inactive” was a pretty good description of my degree of motivation the past decade. When I updated my settings, every request for a connection that I had successfully ignored for so long was automatically sent out. Suddenly, I had more links than the night shift at the Johnsonville brat factory.

Then I received emails lauding me for finally coming out of my cave: “Congratulations,” they all said, “you are now linked in with Betty, Hermione, Ezra and Terrance” (and several hundred others). How often had I thought about touching base with these individuals? “Never,” was the first word that came to mind.

My first line of defense was to go to my spam filter and block any email that had the word “congratulations” in it. But then I had second thoughts because even at my age there is still a slight possibility I may do something one day that actually does merit some praise. That’s the one email I don’t want to miss.

The subject line of these emails enticed me to “learn more about” Phyllis, Oscar, Tony and Deidra, among others. Of course, the bar was low because I knew nothing about these people to begin with. The few I really did know personally wrote back to thank me for finally reaching out. They also wanted to know what took me so darn long. I plan to respond by 2017.

When you first click on one of these names, you are offered information about where, for example, Tabatha works, who works with Tabatha, and, where Tabatha worked previously. This is kind of dull stuff. What I actually want to know is how she really landed that job; what dirt do the employees have on her?; and why did Tabatha get booted from her last gig? That would make the website a lot more interesting.

LinkedIn also forwarded me a personal register of all the people on its site who are employed in the television field in central Indiana. This listing was intended to enhance any networking I might want to do. I stuck it on the fridge. It was a good reminder of all the people who have been avoiding me the last few years.

By the way, associates you connect with also have the opportunity to “endorse” you, which I think means they have used your services and would recommend you to others. Out of 500 names I was suddenly linked to, one person actually endorsed me. I know that is nothing to brag about, but you might as well congratulate me. Everyone else has.

Dick Wolfsie is an on-air personality at WISH-TV Channel 8 and weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at Wolfsie@aol.com.