Tom Kenny asks in a comment on Friday’s post:
“…I’d love to hear your thoughts on the back end (disconnecting) of networking. Because I wondering how there could be any value to dead wood LinkedIn connections…”
I’ve blogged in various places about frequently disconnecting from “friends” on Facebook… I have a zero tolerance policy where if you do something lame with our “friend” relationship I just remove you… no big deal.
I’ve also said that it’s fine to disconnect on LinkedIn – one of the big questions is “will they know?” People seem to not want to offend an ex-connection, or have to have an uncomfortable conversation (“Um, well, I disconnected because… um, er…. “).
But I think what Tom is asking is something else… when does it make sense to disconnect from someone who has provided no value? (as opposed to the technical aspect of disconnecting)
In Tom’s comment he says he would prune:
“… the folk that don’t respond to emails or say some thing like “I’ll let you know” when I ask how I may be of assistance.”
So here’s the interesting thing… the question that YOU have to answer for yourself:
Why are you connecting with people on LinkedIn?
If it is to have these types of deeper relationships, and hope for and expect some kind of mutual respect and communication from one another, then yeah, his thought makes sense.
But ask a recruiter, or a salesperson, or bus dev, or someone who looks at LinkedIn as a database what they think about this.
If they understood how LinkedIn is a tool for them, in their capacity, they would suggest they don’t care about that at all. They are interested in the database search aspect.
“Find me a project manager in Seattle.”
This search would show they any hits in their network… not just their first degree contacts, but THEIR contacts.
In other words, if you have any interest in finding people who are in the networks of your first degree connections then you want to have a lot of (relevant) first degree contacts.
That’s why you see recruiters with thousands of connections. They are not in it for the relationship as much as they are in it for the big reach/database.
I’m not one to say that Tom is right, or a recruiter is right… but think about both options on a spectrum and figure out where you fit… are you more inclined to keep it trimmed with real relationships, or are you interested in the ability to search your contacts’ contacts?
It’s up to you – I can decide for you (but I know where I fall).
One last thought – Tom asks if there is any value to deadwood connections? Sure, absolutely. And further, it doesn’t hurt to have them there…
What do you think?