Assume you get an invitation to connect from someone who has a LOT of first degree connections. Anything over 500. How do you know how many they have? Because in their name, they include something like the image at the right. A common question I get is… so what?? What is the reason they are putting that in their header?
I’m guessing there are thousands of people who do this. To find the ones you are connected with, simply search for “LION” in LinkedIn, and you’ll notice many of the people in your first-through-third degrees who say they are LIONS also put the number in their profile.
Before we get into it, let me just say it’s against the LinkedIn User Agreement to put that info there. And it ticks me off when I do an export to import my connections into JibberJobber, because I have to go through the .csv file they spit out and scrub the fields. It is a pain.
I *think* the reason people put that number there is so they can show how valuable their network can be to you. If you have a big network, let’s say with 10,200 connections, and we connect, my second degree network just grew by 10,200. And I’m sure my third degree network grew by a lot more (assuming many of those connections have more than one connection).
Then, when I do a search with this new, bigger network, I might get better results. In other words, your value prop to me is, if we connect, I’m bringing you many rich contacts to your network and search results.
I personally don’t subscribe to the value of this argument. It is against what LinkedIn really wants you to do, which is connect with people you know and trust. It diminishes your ability to make meaningful connections between people in your network… when I find out you, with a ton of connections, are between me and a person I want an introduction to, I DO NOT go through you. I have tried this before and usually the response I get (if any!) is “I really don’t know that person.”
However, if I were a recruiter, or in business dev, or doing a lot of searches, it would make a LOT of sense for me to connect with you. Anything I can do to grow my network, so my search results are richer, is a good move. In that case, relationships don’t matter as much as growing my “database.”
Do I recommend connecting with people who have huge networks (and brag about it)? I’ll tell you in the next post