I’ve read a number of posts from people who are complaining that some of their 30,000 connections are being reduced to followers. They apologize to their “valued” connections for the injustice LinkedIn has committed.
(LinkedIn has made some bonehead moves in the past, such as stripping us of unlimited searches, but this is not one of them.)
I know I’m going to anger a lot of my connections, but the way I see it, people with 30,000 connections are collectors who don’t understand the purpose of networking. They’re collecting connections like Imelda Marco collected shoes, but by tenfold.
But these connections represent opportunity, you argue. Bullsh#t, I say. Besides the thousands of fake profiles you have accumulated, 90% of your connections will never follow up in a meaningful way.
Some of you say you communicate with them on a daily basis. This is true but only because you share updates, which potentially all 30,000 connections can see. Not likely.
Be honest with yourself, how many of the 30,000 connections have you even communicated with after receiving their default invites? Eight percent if you’re lucky. Or 2,400 if you’re counting. You L.I.O.N.S out there, I’m speaking to you.
My number of connections is more than 2,500, and I have to honestly say I don’t recognize many of them. Which makes me wonder if I have done the right thing by connecting with them. Probably not.
According to Robin Dunbar, a anthropologist and physiologist, we can truly know know 150 people; I’m a living testament of this assertion. (Read The New Yorker article, The Limit of Friendship.)
So when people tell me they know all of their first degree connections, even if it’s 2,400, again I say bullsh#t. This is not to say you need to confine your network to people you can name; at least they should be meaningful.
Collecting LinkedIn connections is like going to a networking event and collecting 100 personal business cards; just grabbing them out of people’s hands. Will you follow up with 100 people? You might as well find the nearest waste basket immediately after the event and dump those cards into it.
If you are saying, “LinkedIn’s purge is arbitrary. Like, they’re taking away valuable connections and turning them into followers instead.” My response to that is if you miss them (as in you know them) then simply reconnect…after you’ve eliminated some of the chaff among your 30,000 connections.
Throw out your connection trash. None of my connections are trash, you argue. Have you, as a true networker, hand-selected these connections? I didn’t think so.
That teenager from Huston, TX, who you blindly accepted, won’t be of any assistance. But all’s good, right.? She got you closer to 30,000 connections.
Once, my son told me he had 500 Facebook friends. I asked him if he knew them. Sure, he told me. Bullsh#t, I told him.
It is time that you open networkers focus on the purpose of networking (this is actually what we’re supposed to be doing) which is to connect with people of like interests who can be of mutual assistance.
Photo: Flickr, d00133519x