The Linked-In Dilemma: To Connect Or Not To Connect?

If you don't know what Linked-In is don't bother reading further because this doesn't concern you. On the other hand for those of you who know what it is and are, perhaps as reluctantly as I, a member, read on and sympathize. When I first heard of Linked-In years ago I thought for certain it would be dead by now. Much like MySpace, everything has a time and a place, oddly enough Linked-In has stayed around. I could offer reasons for its continued survival, but that's not the point, the point is: once you're a member how do you keep up your profile? There are three options: 1. Ignore it like an old high school year book and hope no one notices you 2. Ignore it unless you get three or more people asking to link to you at which point you try and remember your password and accept or decline to end the notices 3. You visit regularly and troll for people to connect to (putting them in position #2) and actively grow your list even to people who barely know you There's also combinations of those. For myself I mainly hover between 1 and 2. Occasionally, when I get pulled in by 2 (meaning having remembered my password finally) I will do a 3. The question, when it's you reaching out to others is: how high do I reach? Connecting to a peer is a no-brainer. Connecting to random people you met at conferences and classes is at your discretion. But what about connecting to your boss's boss? Or the CEO? Or the head of someone else's company? How many levels up is OK and how well do you have to know them to do it? That right there is the rub. To me Linked-In is a like a Rolodex I never use. It's like collecting stamps, I don't mind peers and those one rank above me, but very often my friends are connected to the real movers and shakers and I get a bit of connection-envy. Still I know my place and I think twice and turn away from the "connect" button. When I connect to others for the first time I typically look at how many connections they're sporting. * ~ 20 = loser, I won't connect to them unless they're right out of college, even then, probably not * ~ 50 = slacker, if it's a friend, a long time friend, then OK, everyone else, no * ~ 100 = sure, they probably have someone in their list that might be useful to know eventually * ~ 200 = impressive, probably a successful consultant, good person to know * > 500 = whore, don't connect, they'll just annoy your friends So that's my take. And one more thing, don't but too much PI on your profile because after all, it's not who you are that's getting the connections, it's who you know.
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Comment from:  
I am occasionally tempted to join LinkedIn. I’m sure if I ever did I’d be firmly ensconced in the “loser” or “slacker” category out of lack of interest. I am already known enough in my field that strangers call me regularly for advice, which can be annoying. My old school self seems to get plenty of networking the old school way, so why mess with a good thing.
11/22/12 @ 11:36