I’m approaching a LinkedIn milestone, 500+ connections, and thought I’d take some time to talk about numbers.

New users are often very concerned about how many people they connect to, and how quickly they should grow their connections.

It’s all good if you connect to people you know and trust at every chance you get.

The awkward event

One of the more common situations that people bring to me is after they’ve accepted too many connections.

It usually starts something like “I didn’t know the people that were inviting me to connect, but I wanted a bigger network…” And ends something like “and then this guy that I’ve never met was asking me for a recommendation!”

And they’d like to know how to avoid that in the future…

The how

So many ways to connect to people you don’t really know…

Using the builtin LinkedIn “invite from my email contacts” feature.

And not noticing that it’s much too easy to invite anyone you have ever exchanged email with – even if you have no connection to the other people.

Accepting all requests to connect.

From people that you’ve never met – just because they ask.

And as I’ve written – there’s nothing wrong with using LinkedIn to start a relationship. I’m all for that. I just say that you get access to my little black book of associates only after you have earned the right to be in that book yourself. It’s a little black book, it’s not a phone book…

The fix

The fix is simple – just disconnect from the people you’ve connected to that you don’t really want to remain connected to.

The system won’t send them any sort of notice, so you don’t have to worry about offending them. (and do you really care – you probably don’t know them!-)

The protection

And then in the future use two simple criteria before inviting people to connect, or apply before accepting connections from:

  • know
  • trust

If you don’t know them, or don’t trust them, don’t connect.

Approaching 500

Today I happen to connect to 492 people on LinkedIn. The number 500 is magical in a sense because 500+ is the largest number your account can show. There’s nothing special about it except that everyone can see that you happen to connect to a whole lot of people.

Yes – in general – connecting to more people (you know and trust) is better than connecting to fewer people.

So grow your network over time and the site will work for you. Me – I’ve taken almost 9 years to accumulate my 500. They’re people from every part of my life. And I consider them all VIPs.

And treat them that way.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock