A LinkedIn Strategy For Everyone

LinkedIn is taking a bit of heat lately for limiting group membership, and while it may appear heavy handed, I’ve got an opinion on why it is practical.

A viable strategy can work only if it remains viable if everyone follows it.

That goes for connection strategy as well as group membership…

Joining every group

It seems impractical, but I’ve seen some members with huge group memberships – it looks as if there is no group that they wouldn’t want to join, interest or not.

So it seems very unlikely to me that these people have a real interest in the groups that they are members of, but really intend to join groups as a means of reaching people.

Ok – so what’s the limit?

If LinkedIn didn’t impose one, I’m certain that they would continue to add groups to their profile until there were no more groups left to add.

Connect to every user

It seems just as impractical, but consider the user that adds every available connection. There are no limits on their appetite for connecting.

Again – it seems very unlikely to me that these people have a real interest in the people that they are connecting to, they just like their sphere of connections to expand.

Ok – so what’s the limit? (again)

If LinkedIn didn’t impose one, I’m certain that they would continue to connect until there were no more users left to add.

What if everyone did that?

That’s the rub – if every member of LinkedIn joined every group, the system would break down.

If every member of LinkedIn connected to every other member of LinkedIn, the system would break down.

And while that includes a technical breakdown, that’s not all that I’m meaning. (When I recently viewed the profile of a member that had hundreds of group memberships, it took several minutes to finish loading – that was not cool)

Logistically, if the system is meant to help users get introduced to new people through connections and memberships in interest groups, what use would it be?

Introductions through trusted connections and shared interests

If your interest is extending your reach through trusted connections, LinkedIn will work well for you. If you think you can get a free ride to touch 10 million people to increase your wealth, you’ll probably be disappointed.

If you’re really interested in some niche topic (like orienteering), you can search among the half dozen groups you’ll find on the system, and connect as you like. If you really don’t care about the topic, I’d rather you didn’t connect to the group anyway…

Gaming the system

So the system didn’t originally limit group membership and some people took advantage of that loophole. That’s sometimes the way of life – let’s understand that while it worked for those individuals, it was a flawed strategy for everyone, and needed to get curtailed.

Sure, 50 may not be the final limit, but did you really feel the need to spread yourself across 400 groups in the first place?-)

To your continued success with LinkedIn,



  1. The problem with the limit as I see it is that its being put into place after the fact with an arbitrary limit (Facebook has a limit of 200, but they have always had that). What happens in the future, if next week someone decides the ideal limit should be 20 or 2?

    Secondly, it goes against the whole consumer generated media thing where we the users are creating, voting and deciding with our behavior.

    So there are two reasons against the limit. I have my reasons for being in more groups. Basically for SEO and for a wider search capability etc. Just don’t see a valid reason for having fewer groups at this point. If a good reason was made clear I might be for it?

    [I’m a heavy user, early user and have always been a paying user. Never an abuser]

  2. Tom,

    I appreciate your comment The number 50 seems artificial, and that point is valid – but would it make a difference if the number were 30, 80, 100, or 150?

    You’re right in that the problem was that they never set a limit, so any limit is going to be a change. I don’t believe they’d set a limit of 50 and then try to go even smaller than that – if anything, they might set a limit and then relax later.

    Your account is probably not an abusive one, but I’ve definitely seen users with more than 500 groups – that appears quite excessive… And since LinkedIn has to impose a limit for that population, they probably tried to get a limit that was larger than most users, but within the limits of what their system can handle if everyone joined half that number.

    So my best guess at an unstated reason – the few accounts running with more than 100 groups were causing significant software problems for LinkedIn and they had to “fix” it.


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