The Incredible Shrinking Network

My LinkedIn network is getting smaller, how about yours?

Oddly enough, after talking about how one can prune connections, I noticed that my “entire network” on LinkedIn has shrunk below 5 million. I don’t record those sorts of statistics because they really don’t mean much to me, but I remember it being in the 6 million range – and that’s a lot of people to lose!

So I thought we might want to explore the topic…

Finding out

How big is your network?

Here’s how to check:

  • Click into “Contacts -> Network Statistics”
  • Read;-)

Ok, so I wanted an excuse to use bullets today – it really is simple – if you know where to look, and if you’re interested in finding out.

This page lists your direct connections (1st), your connection’s connections (2nd), and friends of friends of friends (3rd).

Just a year’s worth…

My direct connections – 361 as of today, so I’ve got one for almost every day of the year. And that’s not a bad figure for using the site for over 6 years.

My third level network – 4.7 million.

And the top 10 connectors in my network probably account for a huge portion of that.

It’s neither good nor bad – it just is.

Sliding downward

I had read some reports from uber-connectors towards the end of last year that they were adding connections and dropping in network size – and wondering what was going on.

It does seem clear – for some reason, the third level network is dropping in size.

Likely answer

I’m not much for conspiracy theories, and a couple items could have direct bearing:

  • Duplicate accounts
  • Reigning in abuse
  • Abandoned accounts

The first is a real issue, but probably can’t account for even a 10% drop in connections. In any group of 20 or more, I’ll find at least one user with a duplicate account – it remains a big problem.

The second is a potential, and I just don’t know how much excess goes on or gets corrected.

The third – that’s where I think it comes into play.  Take all accounts that have no valid email address and have not been accessed in more than 2 years and auto-clean them…

That could be enough to drop several million users from the rolls. (and is a good thing to do)

But this is all conjecture.

Your network?

How does this compare to what you’ve seen? Drop a note – let’s compare activity.

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock