I have a little debate going on in my head about who should be included in my LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn seems to suggest that connections should represent a “real-world” network and be limited to trusted friends and colleagues. I have discovered, though, that some people are looking to connect to everybody. Some even go so far as to have LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) or “I accept all invites” in their headlines.
I have received several invitations to connect from people I don’t know with the standard message ,”I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” I haven’t accepted them. Are these people really interested in connecting with me? If they are, why don’t they call me to introduce themselves, invite me out to lunch, or at least send me a personalized message?
I think that most LIONs are just seeking as many connections as possible without the intent of getting to know them. What is their motivation? I can think of a few advantages of being an open networker:
- On the surface, they appear to be really popular – most have 500+ connections.
- Their news feed (status updates, blog posts, etc.) is broadcast to a large number of people.
- They are more likely to rank higher in search results as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level connection.
Those advantages may sound great, but are they really beneficial? I doubt it. Their LinkedIn networks are made up of a bunch of useless connections.
I am not an open networker on LinkedIn, but I am open to networking and meeting new people. I just don’t think that extending an invitation to connect on LinkedIn should be the first step in the process.
Then again, sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on potential business opportunities by not connecting to everyone on LinkedIn. The little devil on my left shoulder makes a tempting argument, but I’m siding with the little angel on my right shoulder.