Facebook connections, by Michael Coghlan

I have a problem with LinkedIn. It’s an awesome social network, but it pushes you to connect with as many people as possible until the social and professional aspects lose their meaning.

The culprit is that small « 500 » badge LinkedIn displays on your profile when you reach 500 connections. It makes growing your network for the sake of it tempting.

Why would other people get that badge and not me?

This is an early, but dangerous example of gamification.

Facebook has a similar problem: how many of your « friends » are your real friends? Most certainly a few of them. Facebook is pushing you to have as many friends as possible. They need it to build the most accurate social graph possible so they display more relevant adds.

The problem is LinkedIn is about your job. Unless your job is having the biggest address book ever, you don’t need to connect with the whole world. That’s exactly the opposite: one day or another, linking with random stranger just because they work in the same field as you do may have some unlikely and negative consequence.

So 2 years ago, I decided to setup a LinkedIn policy. I browsed my 500+ connections, removing every people I had never worked with, in the large meaning of the terms, and started refusing new connections.

My policy is simple. I’ll accept you:

  • if we have worked together and I see no reason not accepting you.
  • if you’re a recruiter coming to me because you have something to offer, not for the sake of adding a new profile in your lists.
  • if I don’t know you but your introduction mail convinces me we have a real reason to get in touch.

I want to be able to tell anyone contacting me we’ve worked together. I want people who know me and want to hire one of my contacts to know they’re trustful persons. I give the term “professional connection” a meaning, and I wish everybody would.

So if you apply one of the above condition, let’s connect on Linked. For everything else there isTwitter, Facebook and Google+.

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