A PR Pro’s Social Media Blunder: Rejecting before accepting

Depending on your organization you could be receiving twenty media calls per day, week, or month. Some of your relationships with journalists are better than others. Some journalists keep coming back to you because you’re a great resource for them. Others are assigned a story about a topic your organization specializes in and you only talk to them once or twice. A senior communication official who receives a high level of media inquiries once told me this story and I was compelled to blog about it.

This communication official is not a social media expert, but does have a LinkedIn account to stay connected with people.  One day the official received a LinkedIn request from someone, they thought they didn’t know. The person replied back to the request saying, “who are you?” The requester said, “I’m from the Wall Street Journal, we worked together on ________. I guess if you don’t remember me then I don’t need you in my network.

The communication official felt bad. Even though it was hard for the official to save face with the journalist, the official sent an apology note saying she deals with hundreds of journalists and of course she remembers who the journalist is now.

Moral of the story – If you don’t know  the person on the other end of a friend or invite request, accept it and look at that person’s profile before making assumptions. There are obvious clues that can lead you to determine if someone is spamming you or not, but think before you reject, you don’t want to burn a potential relationship with a journalist.

What’s your social media blunder?

4 Responses to “A PR Pro’s Social Media Blunder: Rejecting before accepting”

  1. Conrad Hees - November 22nd, 2008

    Hey Brian, nice quick post. It’s good to remember things like this sometimes!

    My biggest mistake with people is to sometimes be oversensitive and take an innocent snub personally. In which case I have to stop myself from burning that bridge. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I burn, baby, burn! 🙂

    I’m still working on it 🙂


  2. Laurie | Your Ill-fitting Overcoat - December 7th, 2008

    I think this is great advice for any industry. One of the most insulting things a person can say to me is that I’m not memorable, not important enough to recognize. This is just a good overall tip for making and keeping positive relationships!


  3. my first social media faux pas « the click chronicles - July 19th, 2009

    […] 3. The “Who are you?” Response on LinkedIn (or Facebook). […]

  4. Troy - September 11th, 2009

    Who needs this snooty Wall Street employee in their network anyway? If you’re so stuck on yourself you get offended that everyone you’ve ever met doesn’t remember you, then you’ve got some issues. Give people a break.

    Although there are good points in this article, I don’t recommend accepting a suspicious invitation before investigation; use the people search. Many spammers are starting to seriously abuse LinkedIn, why give them any satisfaction – even for a moment.


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