Exposing LinkedIn Connection Myths – Part IV

Connecting to thousands of people brings you more recommendations!

This is a feel good reason to connect indiscriminately, but let’s have a closer look at it, shall we?

Recommendations that count

I’ve written about it before, and I maintain that you want recommendations that the reader will remember. (and remember – recommendations and endorsements are synonymous here – we can use the terms interchangeably…)

My basic position is explained in “Memorable Endorsements“, but you might also find other articles in the “Endorsements” archive of interest.

Thousands of connections – hundreds of recommendations

So – if users can get a dozen recommendations from the 50-100 people that they know well and trust, the reasoning behind massively connecting must be to get even more recommendations, right?

So let’s have a look – I can search LinkedIn for “experts” and then sort those search results by relationship and recommendations.

First degree connections

So yes, I should point out that within those people that I connect with directly, the top search result has 62 recommendations, the next 55, and then 30.  All three of these individuals are indiscriminate connectors – that I happen to know well enough to connect with (Including Sheree from the last Myths article).  The next three have 26, 26, and 16 recommendations.

Second degree connections

Of my second degree “expert” connections – the top has 2,878 recommendations, the 10th has 129.

Well – they must really be experts.  Here – let me share some of the recommendations from people in this group…

“Good networker” March 27, 2009

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert


“XXX provided insightful and invaluable feedback on the ABC credential. His coaching and knowledge are top notch.” September 10, 2008


“XXXX’s presentation on ABC was very informative and helpful.” June 23, 2008

Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Good Value

If those don’t speak for themselves, I don’t know how I could describe them any better…

Third degree plus everyone else

And finally, I’ve got to share that at the third level the top “expert” has 200 recommendations, and the tenth 100.

Apparently the experts are all second degree connections of mine…

Here’s a sample recommendation:

“”He talks big, then backs it up tenfold.” With his experience, knowledge and resources there are no limits to success.” September 15, 2005

Inversely proportional to number

Clearly I’m cherry picking the most inane recommendations from these profiles – but that’s really my point – why on earth would any LinkedIn user allow an inane recommendation to appear on their profile?

Because more is better?


One of my favorite jokes about a restaurant is this “The food wasn’t very good, but there was a lot of it.”

Sheer numbers won’t bludgeon the reader into thinking that you are the best there ever was or is – they’ll show your lack of confidence in picking out the right dozen or two recommendations that have an effect.


As the author of your own profile, you owe it to readers to describe yourself in such a way that people can understand the contributions you have made. And then you are obligated to find a few people that can speak to the quality of your work.

Failing to edit recommendations insults the reader – either you don’t have the skills to do so, or you really expect the reader to sift through your hundreds of recommendations…  Or worse – you don’t expect the reader to do so and are simply blowing smoke.

Maybe I’m wrong…

But hey – maybe glowing recommendations that don’t really say anything from hundreds of people that don’t really know you can actually sway the minds of readers. I’m open minded about this – show me some sort of proof that this works and I’ll think about jumping on that bandwagon.

Go ahead – I’ll keep the light on for you…

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock

“Good networker” March 27, 2009

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert