I guess it is that age old question … does size matter?
Much of what I read about LinkedIn suggests that the best value comes from having the biggest network, and you get the biggest network by adding as many people as possible … giving you theoretical access to the extended network of your contacts.
In the staffing business people always told me that the bigger our recruiting database was, the more valuable it would be… 15 years later I would tell you that is not true. It is your ability to find the people you need within your database that counts. A big list of people means more effort to retain accurate information, very little chance that you will have a meaningful relationship and harder to find when you actually want to find them. That “fantastic project manager” may well be in your huge database, but if the last time you updated his information he was a developer then good luck finding him … but that’s another (but related) argument!
Back to LinkedIn …
I enjoy the fact that I can use it to reach out to acquaintances of my acquaintances, although its very rare I would do that;
I enjoy the interesting insights, articles, tips and tricks I get from the network;
I like that my competition leave all of their contacts open so I can see who all their client contacts are (hint);
I don’t really mind seeing the odd job posted for an admin person in the GTA, or a project manager in Calgary;
I do get fed up when I get are a constant stream of job ads from specific people in my network.
5 Lessons Learned (by me) about using LinkedIn
1. I am looking for quality contacts NOT just a lot of contacts.
2. I will be deleting all of those contacts who just post jobs or have a ratio of 10 jobs to the occasional interesting story;
3. People who believe that LinkedIn is the future of recruiting may be watching a bell curve of usefulness. If everyone rebels against the large volume of recruiter ads then the only people reading them will be other recruiters.
4. We are all different, this is just my experience, and I am finally learning what I want from social media.
5. Size doesn’t matter!