discriminationFirst up, let me say I don’t see LinkedIn as an actual Social Network. Matt Charney said it best last week after I tweeted “Can we really call LinkedIn a Social Network?” This was on #NextChat (SHRM’s weekly HR Twitter Chat) and he replied with:

Matt Charney (mattcharney) on Twitter

I’m not a huge LinkedIn fan but understand it to be a necessary evil. I suppose with everything it has its good points and bad.

I will be the first to admit I have given way to social discrimination, especially on LinkedIn. Meaning, I’ve had folks wish to connect with me on social (and LinkedIn) and because of the way they’ve branded themselves online,whether through their goofy photos or lack of social media coolness, I’ve been quick to hit the delete button or ignore them. You know you’ve done it too!

I wonder, is that the same as other kinds of discrimination? Will we one day find ourselves in a court room explaining why we did not accept Joe Blow’s friend request because he was too fat? Because he was holding a chicken and drinking an RC with a mouth full of moonpie on his LinkedIn profile?

I’m pretty sure a lot of us discriminate and exclude others because of where folks live, how they spell their name, what kind of work they do, how they dress or if they’re as pretty as the rest of our friends. I think however, we (as in me) should instead be open-minded especially when it comes to social networking and building our communities.

It’s great to mix and mingle with those of different experiences, viewpoints, cultures and diverse backgrounds as opposed to always engaging and hanging out with those who are similar. It sharpens us. It challenges us to think outside of our little world wherein we live and come outside of our little groups of mini-me’s who are just like us.  It causes us to expand and enlarge not only our communities but enlarge us, personally.

So perhaps we put aside our biases, our pre-judgments and open ourselves up to a whole new world of folks who can add immense value into our lives, both professionally and personally.

And if you’re reading this and I’ve dissed you online or off, please feel free to call me out!

Photo Credit: PrincessTweep