I regularly use Linked in and am connected to a broad range of individuals. I’m always looking to connect with relevant people with whom I have an existing relationship, am interested in what they have to say, that perhaps I could help in some way or of course, those that could help me. Sometimes I like to connect to people merely because I like them and wish to keep in touch with them and their professional career.
However, I regularly see people post updates that say something like “I need 20 more connections to hit 500” (pick a number, any number, as long as it’s a big one). It seems to me that their focus is on pure volume.
Isn’t it better to have a network that you can genuinely tap into for advice, to offer expertise, discuss ideas and contribute to the community, than have thousands of contacts that you don’t really know and with whom you have no real connection?
My view is that for a network like Linked in to add value to you and others, you should focus on quality rather than mere numbers.
Of course this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow your network. On the contrary, I believe that we all should actively engage in doing just that. What I am suggesting is that it should be based on a principle of giving as much as receiving. If this is the case you’d only connect with people where there can be some kind of beneficial two-way relationship.
After all, isn’t that the basis of any relationship? Should the virtual world really be different?