I recently saw an update on LinkedIn about one of my contacts touting the fact that she had reached 5000 connections on LinkedIn. It is an impressive number, for sure. But I am concerned that the number is more quantity than quality. Like the full library of Pauly Shore movies.
I have a rule when it comes to accepting or requesting LinkedIn connections. We have to actually have some connection. We have to have had an encounter or experience together. Or when you contact me, we have to develop a relationship based on something or someone we know in common. In other words, when I file you away in the card catalog in my head, there has to be something meaningful to write on the card besides your Dewey Decimal System number.
By applying these rules I maintain the value of my network. If someone contacts me and says, “I see you know Morris Day. What can you tell me about him?’ or ‘I see we both know Nikki! How do you know her?’ I like to have a great answer and provide value to others in my network. For example:
Yes, I know Morris Day! We met in a jungle. Morris LOVES jungles. And birds.
Of course I know Nikki! She’s darling. I met her in a hotel lobby. It’s kind of a crazy story…
When I don’t know someone, but let them into my network, it dilutes the value of my network. And in a small way, it dilutes me as a valuable resource to others.
I currently have 2,939 connections on LinkedIn. I have 1,565 friends on Facebook. But if you asked me about any of them I can tell you how we know each other. And I can tell you a bit about who they are. (And if they are a pirate I can even tell you how they Arrrgh.) So if you notice that I know someone that you want to know, or want to know more about, let me know. #rare4knowsentence
If you’re just collecting people, places or things then anything goes. There is no discernment. But if you want to add real value you must curate. You must care for your collection. Criteria must be set, and met. It is true at work, in your network, and in your principles and values. It is true in your personal life. It applies to your social media and the people you vouch for. Remember, the more challenging your criteria, the more value you create.
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