I had a colleague email me the other day. He’d been wanting to accept invitations sent to him to connect at LinkedIn, but every time he tried, LinkedIn was wanting to access his Gmail address book before he could go any further. So he would stop and not proceed.
It’s been a long time since I opened my account at LinkedIn but I know that you don’t have to let LI access your address book. Once he sent me a snapshot of what he was getting, I was able to tell him what he could do, to open an account without it accessing his address book.
For the record, I never opened up my account with a Gmail, hotmail or other similar account. When I accepted an invitation many years ago, it was to my own domain account. Systems change over the years, designed to make things easier for you, but also to help their memberships grow phenomenally too. However, you don’t have to be locked into allowing access to your address book. Here is how.
Rather than accept an invitation go to http://www.linkedin.com and create a new account. You should be able to do this without being forced to add your address book contacts, but if you are asked, and can’t bypass it, try creating an account with a different address. Later you can add other addresses once inside the system and you should be able to ignore (or skip) any requests relating to your address book. Then people can send you invitations to either address and you can accept them into the one account. You will get prompts now and then to add your address book (I have) but choose to ignore them. I have several email addresses I use for business, depending on what hat I’m wearing, so have them all listed at LinkedIn, with one address set as my primary. That way I don’t accidentally open another account when accepting an invitation sent to another address of mine. Another trap I know people fall into.
I really do believe that LinkedIn is a very good business tool, once people understand how it works. While I have well over 2,000 contacts on there, I am fussy about who I connect with and there has to be some real ‘connection’ for me to accept an invitation, or to send one. I send very few these days, most people invite me as they’ve seen me on various discussion groups, or seen my website, or heard me speaking, or something else.
I believe that creating the account as I described above should work for anyone. If, perchance, you go to add the Gmail address later and then it is trying to force you to connect to your address book, I would either not use the Gmail account and ask people to send invites to your other address, or open a new Gmail account specifically just for that purpose. However, I don’t believe that would be the case. I do have a Gmail account and it is added as an address on my LinkedIn account but haven’t been forced to add my address book.
I hope this helps those who have been struggling with this problem.