Do you Trust Your LinkedIn Network?

The average American knows 600 people, according to recent research from Columbia University. As Harvard Business Review explains it, that would fill two Boeing 787s   (but would you risk your entire network on a Dreamliner?!)

Trust - Apple Target on Woman's HeadMany people are proud of being “500+” on LinkedIn, so I guess the numbers line up. But the study also claims that we only know 10-25 of these people well enough to trust them.

So does that mean I’m Linked to 337 people I don’t trust? No!

But it does raise a question that often comes up. How do you decide who to connect to on LinkedIn?

My personal guideline  I ask myself “would I be comfortable picking up the phone and asking this person for a favor?” But there are exceptions to this:

  • Aspirational. Someone I admire, or would like to get to know better. Maybe only a brief acquaintance, but could be the” beginning of a beautiful friendship”(!)
  • Appreciative. If a person takes time to write a thoughtful or generous note along with the LinkedIn request.
  • Apathetic. (It happens, especially on Mondays!). Yes, I’ve met the person. No I don’t know them well. Sorry, I can’t be bothered to write and explain why I’m rejecting them. So I accept.

And yes, that brings me to another point. In general, I’ll send a quick note to someone explaining my hesitancy to connect, assuming they had a legitimate reason to reach out (spammers get reported). My network is important to me, and as with anything valuable, it needs to be safeguarded.

Your own LinkedIn philosophy will depend on your role, industry and reason for being a part of a network. But take a minute and decide what your guidelines are…..and also decide who are the 10-25 in your “real-life” trust network!

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