v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Will you connect with me?

I've been lurking on LinkedIn, myspace and facebook on the weekends, and I can see some of my contacts' contacts have TONS of connections. OK, some people are more liberal with who they call a 'friend' than I, but I've noticed this thing called LION on linkedin.

LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. In essence it's the social networks promiscuous user who will connect with anyone for any purpose. Now let me come out and say this so no one misunderstands me:

Connections matter for squat if there is no trust or lack of trust!

The reason why social networks work is because I know someone, and I trust them enough or know them enough to connect with them. These people might be coworkers, employees, friends, family and classmates. If I need something, I can be assured that if I look in my social network I can find someone with the credentials to help me out (such as a good plumber). I will know that that person is trusted, so I won't have any issues hiring this plumber.

If I see that I am connected to someone through a LION or similar idiocy (like, then I simply won't seek out that person's services unless I am one level away from them and I can ask a trusted source over the phone or face to face of that service provider's abilities.

Why? Because most of these open networkers connect to people in order to boost their connected count. The number of people you are connected to does not imply that there is trust in that connection. LIONs are like the ENRON or the credit crunch of the social world - sooner or later they will collapse.

The best way to network is to join a group or a community of practice online, or join a local organization like your local toastmaster's chapter. This is quality networking.
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