Not too long ago I received an invitation to join a social network that goes by the name of Naymz. I’d never actually seen or heard about this particular network prior to the invitation (which came from someone I didn’t know). I’ve talked with this person only once before, and I only had a vague understanding of what it is she does professionally, but she asked if I would recommend the work she does. Since I didn’t know her or her work all that well, I couldn’t recommend either in good conscience, so I wasn’t able to acquiesce to her request.

Why, you might ask? Well, when I followed the link she gave me to join Naymz, the very first question I was posed from the site was whether or not I knew this person. Well, as previously stated, I didn’t. Another question that came to me was whether or not I would recommend her. Well, again, I don’t know her work or her very well, so I couldn’t yet recommend either.

Its all a matter of integrity for me. I suppose I could have been a really nice person and put down a “Yes” for both of the above questions. But then I wouldn’t have kept my integrity, I think. Nor do I think it’d have been real. Also, it’d be misleading to other people who might be counting on what I recommend and suggest to them.

When you build a social network on any given platform, you must make sure that you’re in integrity. What I take this to mean is that if you are suggesting someone that other people could potentially be hiring, you need to make sure that you’re being honest about your recommendation. Don’t make things up and don’t be a pain. Most certainly don’t be fake. Be yourself; be real. If you do these things then the integrity of the network is going to be much more solid.

So, going back to the person that sparked this post. What could she have done differently when approaching me? Well, she could have called me up and invited me to talk or to met somewhere. We could have met each other in person and started to establish a relationship. Then she could help me to more fully comprehend how her service helps people. She could explain to me how she’s different from all the others that are in the same field as she is.

After all of that, then I could’ve made a fully informed choice as to whether or not I’d recommend her. It is going to be interesting to see just how she deals with my choice to not join the social network through her invitation. I’m totally willing to meet and network with other professional people, but I need to know them before I’m able to recommend them.

A social network can definitely make use of your ability to create and build relationships with people. I’m personally a fan of LinkedIn, for example. However, I don’t devote a lot of my time to social networking, myself, because the majority of my business happens to come from word of mouth and personal introductions.

Inform yourself and be sure you’re living in integrity when you build your social network.