LinkedIn is like that friend with a pickup truck. You don't call them much, but when you have to move, suddenly you remember their number.
Worse ... maybe you kind of wish they wouldn't call YOU, either.
When I was worried about my job two years ago, I quietly updated my LinkedIn profile, reached out to a couple connections; managed to get an interview from one of them. That interview didn't pan out, but they called me back a couple months later - and here I am. (I met the woman who did get that first job, and she is made of solid OSUM gold, and no way should I have gotten that gig. I like mine best in any case.)
Every now and then, recruiters get frisky on LinkedIn, but that seems reasonable.
Over the last month or so, a salesman got silly and tried (a) to connect with me there and then (b) kept messaging me about "who is the right person to talk with about such-and-such" at my company. And (c) got himself DISconnected, because - ugh. No.
More recently, a restaurant reached out to me and at least two of the other Executive Admins at my employer, offering us free lunch. This sounds lovely - and I have it on excellent authority the purveyor sending these notes with connection invites makes great food - however, I work at a food distributor. And they are not clients.
How it looks to some folks when we bring in non-client food to our corporate HQ: not super.
So no free lunch for me, sad to say.
Every now and then I see the old "guess who's looking at your profile!" previews, and sigh quietly. Yes, Virginia, there ARE people I spent years losing touch with, and it was not easy.
Nobody really uses LinkedIn as a social network. It's a nicely distant quasi-tool to occasionally keep up with former coworkers, really. You can get their real contact info off 'em if need be, maybe send the odd bland "congrats" or holiday message or whatever.
Or you can let them know ... you might need that pickup truck. And maybe a spare pair of arms to carry a few boxes. And couches.
(*And I don't make fun of his way of reading the name. First time I ran across the website Plenty of Fish, I read it as Plenty Offish ... which strikes me as a hilarious name for a dating site.)