I always tell the people that attend my LinkedIn workshops to send a personalised message with their invite. But lately I had to add: “if you can”.

LinkedIn is changing.

You can’t always send a personalised message when you invite someone. You never could in the applications for tablet and/or mobile, but now the browser version seems like russian roulette. Sometimes you can write a message, sometimes you can’t.

Very confusing and I have been receiving loads of questions about it.

Thing is, I can’t figure out when you can and can’t send a message either. I do have an idea though, my best guess that I am publishing here. This is based on my observations and can be totally wrong.

LinkedIn feels they know you

LinkedIn knows if someone is connected to you first, second or third degree. They know who lives near you, who moves in the same circles as you. And I believe LinkedIn is starting to assume that they can predict very certain if you know someone or not.

I am not sure if this is right, but somehow this is actually how it worked for me the last few  months: If I did know someone that was completely outside my ‘normal’ zone (most of the time that would mean a client that came to me through social media channels) and send them an invite, I had no option of telling LinkedIn how I knew them. Nor could I send a personalised message while I would want to. While when I sent invites to old classmates or ex-collegues LinkedIn wanted to know how I knew them and I could send personalised messages to go with it.

If LinkedIn cannot find any link at all it just sends an invite, without giving you the opportunity to say how you know each other and a personalised message, while if it is second or third degree you get the popup asking how you know this person and can add a personalised message.

I do feel that is the wrong way around though. If LinkedIn wants us to send less messages I would rather not send a personalised message with my invite to an old collegue that LinkedIn believes I know than to a client that LinkedIn had no idea I knew. It isn’t all that friendly to send invites to clients without a message.

Besides, doesn’t LinkedIn want to know how I met this person?

I have no idea if I am right. The mystery of the LinkedIn invites is very much alive….

What do you feel is the reason you sometimes can and sometimes can’t send personalised messages when inviting?