This is so embarrassing!
For years I have avoided the temptation to check my email address book in LinkedIn, but today I succumbed. I was on LinkedIn to accept a request from someone I knew and this time I did click on the "check your address list". The comment "Your email is safe with us! We will not store your password or email anyone without your permission" was reassuring. It came up with a page on which I could see eight possible connections. I unchecked seven of them. They were people I would not consider emailing a request to connect on LinkedIn because I didn't know them well enough - occasionally not at all - and there may have been one I wouldn't want to connect to on LinkedIn. Unchecking seven took an age, which should have been a warning, but having succeeded, I went ahead and clicked on "Add connections". Only then did I see that this wasn't a page with only eight possible connections. I could have scrolled down and found several hundred more.
My email software is set to add everyone I have mailed to my address list - it can be useful. But hence my desire to check through the LinkedIn list and hence also my rough estimate of one in eight I would want to connect to. But I ended up asking several hundred people to connect, many of who I don't even know. Within an hour I had about thirty acceptances, many from people I have never heard of. That is strange, as I tend to want to have met someone face to face or have intensive electronic contact before adding them to my LinkedIn network. I even received an automatic reply from info@Bol.com but also some from people wanting to know whether and how they know me. I know the feeling. Now I know why I receive so many requests from people I don't know, some even through the info address of my software company.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that there is a recommendations page on LinkedIn. I get a page with four connections/skills I can choose to recommend. I can recommend all or each individually. I assumed the connections page was similar.
So how do I undo the damage? Will LinkedIn please unlink the people I don't know and send a bunch of flowers to everyone who got spammed? And also forward this blog to all of them?