Who do I connect with on LinkedIn? People I know and trust, or everyone?

December 3rd, 2013 | by Jason Alba |

I know, this is a tired debate of QvQ (or Quality vs Quantity).

I maintain that different people, with different circumstances and objectives, should have a different position on the spectrum of QvQ.  LinkedIn has, on the record, been on the far “quality” side of the spectrum, saying you should only connect with people you “know and trust.”  Without calling this position utterly stupid, or as my English friends might say, poppycock, I will suggest that their advice has always been outdated and completely unrealistic.

But that’s just me :)  And I really don’t care to get into the almost-religious debate of which is right, which is better, etc.

In fact, LinkedIn doesn’t even agree with their own strongly-stated advice.  Throughout the system you are invited to connect with people you don’t know and trust (importing from other systems, for example).

Anyway, the reason I wanted to bring up this open wound again is that Nick Corcodilos wrote a post talking about his shift from only wanting to connect with people he knows and trusts to connecting with, well, pretty much anyone.  Read it here.  He’s spot on.

One quick thought: I’m not saying the goal is to get a bigger network (aka, the most connections).  But if you think about the online connections like you do an online networking event, you might choose to connect with people differently (and have different expectations of the roles in the relationship).


  1. 2 Responses to “Who do I connect with on LinkedIn? People I know and trust, or everyone?”

  2. By Nick Corcodilos on Dec 3, 2013 | Reply

    Jason: All points well taken. But I do think the goal is to get a bigger network. Consider: You can carefully curate your network, as I did. But when you reach out to one of your legit contacts, to make more legit (carefully curated) contacts for your own benefit, what you almost always find is huge lists… of open contacts. If Linked were to manage this with integrity, carefully managed lists could be incredibly valuable. But as you point out, Linked doesn’t bother, because all Linked wants is to make fast money. It could still make huge money by doing this right — but that’s not happening. So Linked is like any other lottery or database — the more tickets (or records) you have, the better your chances of a “win.” It sucks, but I think it’s the simple truth. Keep calling them as you see them — your wisdom about LinkedIn has influenced a lot of people in positive ways, me included!

  3. By Jason Alba on Dec 3, 2013 | Reply

    For many people the bigger network means nothing except a chance to brag to mommy about how many thousands of contacts they have. No one cares. More important, they don’t know what to do with a bigger network, other than brag about it.

    I guess that last paragraph of mine in the post is my attempt to dance a little into the QvQ debate.

    My admin accepts almost all invitations to connect. She does not accept certain ones that are clearly spam, and sometimes does not connect with invites from questionable characters. But she doesn’t put a lot of thought into it.

    We do have a quick disconnect policy, though… one violation of trust and you are out. No second chances, no preaching/teaching from me.

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