"I'd like to add you to my professional network."
- [LinkedIn invitation likely to be deleted]
If you send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and you don't take the time to personalize it, then I won't consider it.
Sound harsh? It probably is.
But you know what? With LinkedIn considered the most professional of all the social networks (and rightfully so, I'd say), you need to treat it - and its members - professionally.
Would you send a generic cover letter to every single job you apply for? Well, maybe you would. But your chances of getting that job would likely be diminished. Odds are you're going to customize the letter or introduction to the person or company with which you're looking to associate yourself. Why should it be any different on a social network like LinkedIn?
With online interactions increasing in number every day, it's a good thing to give people context, to provide a personal and snappy introduction, or to suggest why they might want to connect with you.
For me, I usually limit my LinkedIn connections to people I've met or worked with in some capacity. It's the most "pure" of all of my networks. So when I get an invitation from someone I may have met at a conference, or who knows me from reading this site, I like to have some context behind why they'd like to connect.
Yes, I know LinkedIn is helpful by pre-filling the message form with "I'd like to add you to my professional network." But please don't be lazy.
Image credit: pierre pouliquin (Flickr)