Yet another LinkedIn tip. LinkedIn is useful for many things, finding information about people you want to know, certainly. But LinkedIn connections are not. LinkedIn connections are for people you actually know, not the ones you want to know.
If you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn who you don’t know, don’t just send them a connection request. Because, trust me, my immediate instinct is, “I don’t know you. Ignore.” Instead, send them a message. If you don’t have an upgraded account, find their Twitter or email address with a Google Search. Or, call them directly at their company. Introduce yourself. Explain why you think a relationship with them would help you and them, and ask for an in-person meeting. After that meeting, then, they are a viable LinkedIn relationship.
If someone couldn’t say A) what you look like and B) at least one nice thing about your work, they probably shouldn’t be on your LinkedIn connections.
Of course, many people use LinkedIn differently. But for me, in order to get on my connections list, I have to have met you at least once.