I was an early adopter of Linked-In c.2004 if memory serves. I decided very early on that the only way to get the value out of the platform was to have the largest possible network, So I accepted every single invitation that came my way, became a “LION” and I got up to 7000 direct connections. What did this mean in reality? It meant visibility of pretty much everybody on the site, so much so that when Linked-in first developed its recruitment product and the sales manager came to sell it to me, he left my office embarrassed. We both did the same search, he used his all singing new “recruiter” account and I used my bog standard £10 a month business account. I got twice as many results……
But that was a few years ago, and LinkedIn have developed their commercial offerings significantly to the point now that if you pay the right subscription you can basically access the entire network. I then started to think about what my profile looks like and whether having 7,000 connections actually diminished its value – because people would look at it and put me in the same category as the “manic networkers” who don’t actually do anything. You know the types – they are the ones that scream on their profile “15,000 Connections” like a roadside motel advertising AC & TVs in every room in 2017. I concluded that when I was looking at other people’s profiles, I studied those with much fewer high value connections a lot closer than those with many random connections. It was time to do a cull, a bit like you do on facebook when you leave one company and join another with a new circle of friends.
Now let me tell you, there is no easy way to do this, no tool you can use to speed the process up – trust me I researched this extensively. You have two choices – a) delete your profile and start from scratch hoping you dont miss someone b) go through each connection manually and delete them – which takes about 30 seconds. I went for choice b) and set myself the task on every conference call to use the time to multitask and delete come connections. In case you are wondering 7000 connections at 30secs is about 19 1/2 hours of clicking.
I set myself a simple rule – I would only keep people in my network whom I had personally interacted with on more than one occasion. Fortunately I have a good memory for these things and many hours later my network is now down to 1,847 and my mouse has a new set of batteries. The next stage will be for me to cut it down to people I have actually met or if not met have interacted with in the past 12 months.
Time will tell if this strategy is good or bad, but there is something really nice about clicking the “all connections” button and scrolling down a list of really recogniseable connections whom I know, if reached out to, would happily reply and help if they can.
Do the linkedin life laundry – its cathartic and quality is so much better than quantity