Connecting to thousands of people puts your updates in front of more people!

This is a nice feel-good reason to connect indiscriminately, but empty when you get into it. I actually have to agree with the plain statement of fact that if everyone connected to thousands of people they didn’t know, updates would be placed in front of thousands more people.

And be completely ignored.

Let’s have a look at how this would happen, shall we?

LinkedIn updates

LinkedIn lets members know about happenings within their network of 1st degree connections. By default, you can expect to see a LinkedIn update when your direct connections:

  • Update their profiles
  • Add connections
  • Add recommendations
  • Update their status
  • Relay twitter messages

And by the way – you can expect that they’ll get an update when you do these things as well.  If you’d like to change that, look for the “Profile and Status Updates” setting.  You can also choose who has visibility to your updates with the “Member Feed Visibility” and “Twitter Settings” settings. (sorry, their labels not mine;-)


If you feel that some of those update messages clutter up your home page, you can disable them with specific settings under the label of “Network Updates”.

I personally review updates through an RSS feed.  If you know what that is, look for “Your Private RSS Feeds” setting.  If you’d like to find out what it is, read this article I wrote a few years back – “Would you Like that Web Site Delivered?

So now you understand that updates are sent out based on the senders privacy selection, and viewed based on the viewers selection.

Raw numbers

So yes, if Bob connects to 4000 people (he doesn’t really know), and creates an unbelievably prophetic update, he will get that in front of 3600 more people than Sally who connects to 400 people she knows and trusts.

That is a huge percentage increase, so kudo’s to Bob for getting the message out.

The other shoe

But let’s have a closer look.

Bob connects to 4000 people who also connect to 4000 people (that they don’t know) – because that’s what the proponents say – everyone should connect indiscriminately.

I have close to the 400 connections of Sally that I used as an example above, and I received about 100 updates a day, some days even more.  In the world of twitter that’s 1 update from each user every 4 days – so we have to take that as a reasonable lower bound.  Some of these folks send out 3-4 messages a day!

So if someone connects to 4000 people, they will receive 1000 updates a day – or more!

Think they’ll ever look?

And just what happens when someone is overloaded with messages from people they don’t know (or care about)?

That’s right – they either turn them off, or they ignore them completely.

So even if the indiscriminate connector’s message is delivered to thousands of additional people, it is a wasted effort.

Compared to people that care

Now – consider the effect of an update from someone you know and trust – “John Smith has added a position – Software Engineer for Acme Computing“.  That’s something you’ll be interested in because you know John was looking for work and it’s great to see your colleague find a position.

You might even send over a note to congratulate John.

Adding up the numbers…

Ok – perhaps there’s a silver lining and getting your update possibly seen by thousands of people that don’t know you really does have a payoff.  I just don’t get it.

If you want to do the twitter thing – that’s cool – I’ve joined. (See my “Follow me” tweety bird off to the right – I follow back)  The twitter platform was built around very light connections and the intent for thousands (and tens of thousands) of followers, and works well.

The LinkedIn platform – wasn’t – so don’t waste your time trying to make it something that it isn’t.

But please – let me know if I’m missing something here!

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock