Some thoughts on Linkedin: should we all become Linkedin LIONs?

Tunancier's picture
Rank: Baboon | 171

Hello monkeys,

Some of us may already be familiar with the term Linkedin LION (Linkedin Open Networker). Here is a full description from Linkedin:

Being a LION means you are willing to accept any invitation you receive and increase your number of connections. It also helps you connect with other professionals that are related to your field. When becoming a LION, you allow others to send you invitations and assure them that you will not click on "I don't know" or "spam" button, which can harm the invitor.

The easiest way to spot a LION is to look for the word "LION" at the end of someone's name. However, most LIONs put their emails in an open networking list shared on websites like LinkedTop.com, InvitesWelcome.com, etc. Nobody in my humble list of contacts is a LION. In fact, I have not seen many on daily feeds.

However, when I started researching, I found out there are over 100,000 people who put their names in open networking list (Linkedin has this 'import file' function that allows us to massively send out invitations to everyone in the list). Technically, this means I will be able to increase my number of connections to 100,000 easily. Sounds awesome, right? Here is my thought on LION:

Pros: if I add anybody on the internet, I have a higher chance of connecting with contacts which I may find useful later on in life. Also, the amount of exposure I will gain for my posts will be huge. The probability of a potential employer finding me will be much greater.

Cons: being a LION means I will likely be obliged to add virtually everybody. This means a hairdresser in Ghana with 9 connections will have me as the 10th. My network will be saturated up to a point when it's hard for me to find the people whom I have encountered professionally. As I am less (or not at all) selective, the quality of my network will likely be low. The fact that I don't know 100,000 people in my list of 100,300 contacts may even hammer my personal brand and value.

Linkedin users can choose whether to become a Linkedin LION or not. If you wish to become one, follow the instruction in this link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140826072327-2429...
What are your thoughts on this guys?

Comments (19)

Jul 31, 2017

LinkedIn trying to be facebook

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jul 31, 2017

Girl I'm down to get to know you, but we don't need to put a label on it.

Jul 31, 2017

I use this as a pickup line sometimes

Jul 31, 2017

Haha and how does that work out for you?

But on topic, I think it's retarded to put a label on accepting randos' LinkedIn invitations.

Jul 31, 2017

No. Just no. The founder of LinkedIn said it was not intended as an open network but rather a close network of personal connections that can be leveraged.

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Jul 31, 2017

Yes the idea of LION is against the conventional way of networking on Linkedin. It's like proceeding at your discretion kind of thing.

Jul 31, 2017

In contrary to networking is dating. A friend once told me to "lower my standards and raise my average" when hitting on people at the bar in college.

Jul 31, 2017

When you have that many connections, I think your issue mentioned in the cons section overrules any potential pros. Even having as many as 2-5K connections is more a burden than a blessing, and this is coming from someone still actively seeking FT positions (still intern/in school).

Point is, I think you are much better off adding alumni and others DIRECTLY related to your niche (whether that be your dreams of landing a EB position, an ER role, or that of being a PM of a Megafund HF).

When it comes to linkedin messaging, it is super hit or miss. People on WSO have told me only losers do it, or that they don't care at all (point is the advice is dependent on the candidate). I will say this though, my cold messaging on LinkedIn resulted in WAY higher response rates when contrasted with cold emails (think 45% compared to 20%).

Just to clarify, this is just my two cents and I am sure there are plenty of people far better at navigating LI than myself.

    • 1
Jul 31, 2017

I am not sure whether the cons really outweigh the pros. I agree with you that targeting alumni and acquaintances will be more effective than adding random people. However, expanding your network (while still targeting people you know) will simply increase your chance of attracting somebody out of your radar. Just take a look at influencers and high-profile users. Each of them has at least 10,000 followers. Having a large follower base helps them brand themselves or even market products. It sounds like I'm contradicting myself with the point I made in the cons but there is more than one way to look at this.

Jul 31, 2017

I see your point as well, and here it really comes down to preference. You are not wrong, I guess I would want to specifically chose the "randoms" I add, BC I do it in a methodical manner so as to try and pick the people most likely to get back to me. The others would just clutter my network and further confuse me I guess is what im trying to say

    • 1
Aug 1, 2017

It all depends on your job and title. I used to accept nearly every invite on Linkedin. After I started my company, I began to get hit up by ~10 people per day about "partnering to innovate my technology with very talented teams of off-shore developers." Having a huge network of outsourced dev shop sales people in Pakistan/India/Indonesia/E. Europe doesn't really do much for me other than open me up to more ongoing communication from them.

Aug 2, 2017

How about leads generation? Don't you find it easier to reach out to potential clients with a larger follower base?

Aug 2, 2017
Tunancier:

How about leads generation? Don't you find it easier to reach out to potential clients with a larger follower base?

Lead gen is not a primary responsibility for me, but that was really the point I was trying to get across. A network of salespeople from companies who aren't potential customers in countries where we don't operate adds zero value.

When someone cold connects with me, and they have a relevant title and are connected to the right people from my industry then I accept. I focus more on who someone is connected to, not how many.

Aug 1, 2017

Real question is, do y'all unfriend or disconnect with contacts that you changed your mind about or that just added you randomly?

Aug 2, 2017

I do annual cleansing process on the 1st of Jan (or first week of) every year both on Facebook and LinkedIn (never more than 500 people on both platforms). Usually reasons for blocking, disconnecting, and unfriending someone include:
1) no longer adding value to my personal and professional growth,
2) no longer wanted to be associated with a bad company,
3) attack, stab or damage me in personal and professional setting in the last 12 months, and
4) largely becoming a transaction based relationship and did not transform into a meaningful friendship.

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Aug 2, 2017

Those are fair reasons. I'm gonna play the double advocate on reason 1 and 4. How do you gauge the value somebody is adding (or will add) to your personal and professional growth? Isn't it better to keep the contact there for future use?

Best Response
Aug 2, 2017

I follow the "selective generosity" mantra and it had served me well throughout the years.

I don't believe in OPEN networking like LION because a few reasons:

  • Avoid Devaluation: Having more random connections cheapen and devalue your existing connections. You will be seen as trying too hard. And there is no value in being the most popular person in town. You need to provide value, not friendliness.
  • Risk of Data Fraud: There is also a huge risk of online scams and frauds with people having access to your data. And most likely, your connections will likely to add the so-called "African Prince" because you have him on your network.
  • Depth Over Breath: Depth is more important in Breath in term of relationship. I believe in targeted networking as much as targeted marketing, in which I will only focus on nurturing at max 10 solid relationships each year. This is based on my experience of networking with more than 5,000 people over the last 10 years (sample size). Of that 5,000 people, I would considered about 20 people as my core supporters (that is 0.4% return rate). These 20 people have helped me tremendously over the last decade; of course, 1-3 got dropped out and new 1-3 get added over the years.
  • Offline Networking is Better: In person networking is much better. I spend more time on social, civil, professional, cultural, regional, and interest based closed groups (not more than 50 people), where I can develop stronger relationship in comparison to networking with everyone. Every year, I go on an executive education program in which the class is about one month with less than 50 people that you see everyday. This has tend to work out great for me.
  • Selective Generosity: I believe that helping everyone reduce the "perceived" value of your help. I had mentored random people for no reasons; ended with getting back-stabbed by the same person. And not everyone deserve your help. This is coming from someone who had mentored close to 100 people and placed about 10 people into front office positions.
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Aug 2, 2017

Hats off to you. Really appreciate your expertise here. At the end, I think it depends on what your goals/occupations are. Being a LION may not be a good idea now but a reason for it may arise in the future, and vice versa.

Aug 2, 2017
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