What is the Difference between a LinkedIn User and a LION?

Given all this power and potential to reach people around the world, some people — LinkedIn open networkers (LIONs) — want to network with anyone and everyone who’s eager to connect with them. Their goal is to network with as many people as possible, regardless of past interaction or communication with that person.

One of your most prominently displayed LinkedIn statistics is the number of first-degree connections you have. After you surpass 500 connections, LinkedIn doesn’t display your current count of first-degree connections, but just the message 500+.

Part of the reason LinkedIn stops displaying updated counts past 500 is to discourage people from collecting connections. Many LIONs have thousands or even tens of thousands of first-degree connections, and the 500+ statistic is a badge of honor to them.

LIONs encourage open networking (that is, the ability to connect with someone you have never met or worked with in the past) by advertising their e-mail address as part of their professional headline (for example, John Doe; Manager >firstname@lastname.com<), so anyone can request this person be added to their network. You can find more information at sites such as Opennetworker.com.

LinkedIn offers a formal program — OpenLink — for people interested in networking with the larger community. You can sign up for this premium service any time after you establish a premium account. When you enable the OpenLink feature, you can send and receive messages with any other OpenLink member.

The question that is often asked is this: Is it okay to be a LION? You must decide for yourself, but consider this: although some people feel that they can find some quality hidden in the quantity, LinkedIn is designed to cultivate the real quality connections that people have.

Not only does LinkedIn heavily discourage a user being a LION to the point of almost banning them, but also the random connections make it next to impossible to tap the real power and potential of LinkedIn.

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