Have you tried to send a personalized LinkedIn invitation lately?

I’m a big believer in personalizing my invitations for several reasons:

  • I’m inviting one person to join my network, not sending out a mass mailing.
  • It’s a valuable way to follow-up with someone and tell them why they matter to you.
  • Not doing so is lazy and impersonal–and leaves me concluding that maybe the person is all about numbers, not people.

Now LinkedIn seems to be stripping the personalization potential, at least where invites are concerned. Recently, I’ve run up against a 200-character limit. It takes 86 characters (including the spaces) just to send the standard message to a person with a four-letter name. That doesn’t leave much room to say more, unless you start abbreviating like crazy–and then you might as well send a tweet.

My short-term solution has been to send two e-mails: a follow-up from my account, and then a LinkedIn invite. While I’m sure people are loving all this attention, it seems a bit redundant not to be able to do it all in one.

Have you come across this problem? If so, what’s your workaround?

Photo by camay camay (Flickr).