Over the years I have joined and left Ecademy a total of three times now. Each time I have left it has been because I felt uneasy about the overt "networking' that predominates there. However I know Thomas Power, who runs Ecademy, personally and when he recently invited me to rejoin I accepted.
I then unwittingly became part of an experiment with Autoconnect that Thomas is doing which resulted in me being connected to thousands of Ecademy users, many of whom have responded to this apparent request from me to connect. The result is that I'm now in the top 200 users on Ecademy and have thousands of people who think I want to be connect with them!
I don't deny that a lot of my business comes from my network, I understand the principle of weak ties allowing connections with people that wouldn't otherwise be part of my circle of influence, and I fully understand Thomas's benign intentions in doing this but if I felt uneasy about Ecademy in the past I feel even more so now!
As Stephanie Booth says in a post this morning "All you really need to do is be interested in people. Forget about “networking”."
This captures the essence of my discomfort. Even in a business context, perhaps particularly in a business context, building a network is for me a natural result of being interested in people and wanting to establish relationships. There may be people within the thousands who are now connected to me on Ecademy with whom I form these sort relationships but it does slightly feel as if we have got off on the wrong foot!