LinkedIn request message: “Hi Gabriela, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” I check the profile. I am intrigued by the professional experience of the requester. “Strategic and Art director”. Curious, I read the whole description. A lot of arty, amazing and unusual artistic stuff. A fascinating job. Impressive. I accept the invite. I respond with a a friendly welcoming message and ask him about his ongoing projects. I want to know as well what brought him towards my profile and what made him want to connect.
The second day, I get his response. “Thanks. Your photo”.
I’m like: ????!!!!*%£##?? Puzzled. A few minutes later, I reply: “I see. What did my photo inspired you? And what made you want to connect afterwards?”
No response for a few days.
Meanwhile I decide to change my profile picture with a more recent one. Compared to the previous picture that was taken about two years ago and showed a slimmer, longer haired version of me, I look more mature. Maybe because of the few extra kilograms that I had put on. I smile in the picture. Ok, maybe it’s not my best smile but I smile.
Half an hour later I receive his message. “Hi Gabriela. How are you? Haha. Why you changed your picture? It’s scary.”
I am puzzled again. Then I start feeling a lot of tension in my body. It is the anger that starts taking shape, surrounding me, mounting along my spine towards my temples. I fire off:
“Your comment is deeply hurtful, disrespectful and completely unprofessional. I am outraged at the thought of how a man can judge and objectify a woman based on her picture. Choosing to connect professionally to someone based only on a picture is I believe, limited. Otherwise I am pretty fine, thank you.
What exactly is your interest, btw?
What made you want to connect with me on this professional network?
And what exactly from my picture is scary for you?”
No reply. Maybe my new picture did not bring my best ever smile.
Later on, a new request comes in. “Hi Gabriela, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.” I welcome the request and follow it up with a question about his projects and the reason he wanted to connect. Some time later, I receive his reply: “Hi Gabriela, I am sory. There is no projects or reason. We can only say laughter. 🙂”
So if this guy wanted to connect with me professionally in order “to have a laugh” I assume that my picture is not that scary after all.
Meanwhile, please spread the message to whom may be concerned: “LinkedIn is not a Casting Network nor a Dating Site”. It is a professional network.