Accidental invitations link past to present

June 13, 2013|Lisa Prejean

I recently completed a biography questionnaire for a class I’m taking. The process was an interesting experience and really made me think.

As a writer, I’m usually the one asking questions. I don’t typically have to think about how I would answer a question, but this time I did.

Some of the questions were easy to answer: Name, spouse’s name, address, occupation, length of time at occupation, etc.

The hardest question asked me to list my favorite book. How can I pick just one? Should I select a favorite children’s book, a favorite historical novel, a classic? That’s like asking me to pick a favorite friend. Each of my friends is special to me for different reasons.

Hmm. I decided to think about the book question. 

That caused a flashback to another recent experience. A friend sent me an invitation to be linked with her on Linked-In, an information-sharing network for professionals.


I wanted to be a good friend, so I accepted.

Once that happened, I received invitations from other people I knew, so I kept accepting invitations. Then I received emails encouraging me to send invitations to other people, so I sent a few of those.

One recent evening at the end of a long day, I noticed that I had one of those emails asking me to send invitations to other people I know. There were five or six people “selected” for me, and I had to “deselect” them if I didn’t want to send invitations to all of them. 

I recognized two names, so I deselected the rest ... or so I thought. I didn’t notice that there were several layers containing several pages of names that were selected for me.

I hit “send” without a second thought, and a message flashed across my screen that invitations had been sent to 256 people, pretty much everyone in my online address book.

People I interviewed once three or four years ago are now connected to me. Or, at least, they have received invitations to be connected.

My daughter walked into the room just as the “256” message flashed across my screen. My hands were up in the air and I was shaking my head. Of course, my daughter wanted to know what happened.

After I told her, she said, “Well, at least you didn’t send out something embarrassing.” 

True. I’m just embarrassed that I made that mistake, and I’m reminded of it each day when I check my inbox and another person that I barely know or don’t remember has accepted my invitation.

Oh, well, at least I didn’t send my son’s graduation party invitations to those contacts.

At least, I think I didn’t.

I guess we’ll find out on the day of the party.

If they knew what book I listed as my favorite, they probably wouldn’t come to such a simple-minded person’s event. I opted for “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

Perhaps I was hoping for a good night’s rest ... disconnected from the computer.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail’s Family page. Send email to her at

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