I recently joined the 500+ club on LinkedIn, meaning I now have over 500 connections. Check me out!
At first, I thought it was cool. It is in some respects a measure of professional stature. The more connections you have, the greater your ability to help people find jobs, find candidates for jobs, find suitable vendors, get answers to tough questions, and more. Plus, I’m relatively passive when it comes to networking, so I take some pride in getting to 500 by having shaken hands with all but a few. Wahoo, right?!
But I did some research and realized that the 500+ club isn’t nearly as exclusive as it once was. Over 15% of my connections are also 500+ members and many more are just one networking event away from getting there. I feel like 500 is a rather pedestrian goal in today’s LinkedIn community. It’s more a reflection of how long I’ve been using LinkedIn than my professional stature. The count never goes down because nobody ever “un-connects” with someone. Now I’m deflated!
I appear in search results about 25 times per week and get an average of 7 profile views per week. I was recently notified by LinkedIn that I have one of the top 1% most viewed profiles, so that latter figure is apparently pretty good. It doesn’t pass my bullshit meter, so I’m thinking they sent it to the top 25%! I guess the point is that I’m more active on LinkedIn than the average user and at least anecdotally I do feel like I get more out of LinkedIn than the average user.
A friend asked if this meant I was a LION – a LinkedIn Open Networker. The answer is no. A LION is someone who accepts connections from anyone with a credible profile. It is a way to quickly build a very large network of people you do not know. It works for some, but not for me. As I said before, I use LinkedIn to help find jobs, candidates, vendors, and answers. For these things, I want a trusted network.