I came across this very interesting article in my weekly read of CIO.com. It’s an interesting perspective on what the number of LinkedIn connections might say about you – according to LinkedIn spokesperson Krista Canfield. LinkedIn is regarded by many as the “social networking tool for professionals and business.” Which puts it firmly in the Social Media toolbox.
Canfield says that having too many connections could be a risky proposition and that, rather than gathering hundreds and thousands of “connections” users should be more selective about making connections.
Here are some of Canfield’s points.
Having too many connections could harm your introductions. Say you want to be introduced to someone through your current connections. If the person you want to do the introducing doesn’t really know you (and vice-versa) they won’t be able to fully endorse you, which doesn’t reflect particularly well and could derail any new connections because the trust factor is missing.
2. Your Rolodex Defines you
Canfield advises vetting carefully because being connected with someone you don’t really know lowers your credibility with those you do know. Plus, she says if you’re using the default setting on LinkedIn (as I do) everyone can see your connections. Any “non-credible” connections that could work against you.
3. Meaningful Connections Matter
The more you know your connections on LinkedIn the more likely they are to vouch for you should you need them to, for example, when seeking a job or an opportunity.
So what do I think?
Well, I am mostly with Krista on most of her points, the exception being a boss seeing non-credible connections on my profile. Since I don’t have any “non-creds” I’m not too sure what those are – or even if it’s the bosses’ call on how credible they are. However I will take it to mean (loosely) connections you can’t really say you know. But I could be wrong there…
On my own LinkedIn profile I have just over one hundred connections. I’ve worked hard to grow them, and even though I know I could do more, I can say I know them all in one way or another. I’ve either worked with them in the past or still do, done work for them, met them through various networking events or through volunteering or they’ve provided me with a service. Or we’ve had some lengthy interaction on-line.
My rule of thumb using LinkedIn during the number of years I’ve used it is that if any one of my connections asked me for a recommendation or wanted me to vouch for them I could do so. I could also expect the same from them. I’ve gone for quality rather than quantity, however I know that for some quantity is the name of the game.
That said, there have been times when I’ve wondered if LinkedIn’s own policy on connecting, is rather limiting. As one commentator noted, how, for example, can you get to know others in your industry, or another industry if you only accept invites from those people you already know?
“connect with people you know and trust. But network consistently.”
He’s picky who he allows to connect with his own connections – all VIPs.
I think it depends on how you use LinkedIn. I know that recruiters use it heavily for locating people.
For myself, whenever I get a connection request that makes me wonder “why?” and “is this a spammer?” “how do I add value to them?” and “how do they add value to me/my network?” I approve or disapprove accordingly.
I’d like to grow my networking organically but still maintain quality over quantity. I’m not convinced it’s possible with thousands of connections.
Are you on LinkedIn? How do you use it?
Do you go for quantity (the more the merrier) or quality (fewer and more intimate)?
How well do you know your connections and does it matter to you?
What do you think of Krista Canfield’s points?
The article is worth reading, so check it out. Have a look at this related article too… it’s the one that started it all.