Michael Arrington talked about how Facebook should allow users to “reset” their social network to shed some of the fat that collects over time in your social network circles. This resonates with my “Facebook fatigue” that I talked about earlier. More and more people these days are complaining about the low signal to noise ratio on their Facebook walls, and this is a dangerous path for Facebook to go down.
What most people are not realizing is that this issue has an even larger impact when it comes to our professional network on LinkedIn. Over time, we relax our constraints and tend to approve connection requests on LinkedIn from people who we know very little. These may be people who we exchanged a simple “hello” with and went on to connect with them later on LinkedIn. Before we know it, our network has grown to over 500 people.
It is difficult to imagine how most of us can have a high quality professional relationship with over 500 people. It just doesn’t seem physically possible. LinkedIn does a very good job of trying to prevent you from adding people who you do not know well, but the software algorithm can only go so far in dissuading people from expanding their networks.
I seem to have fallen prey to this as well as my LinkedIn network has grown fast over the past year (mostly due to new connections at ISB). But its high time I tighten up and take control of who I decide to approve. For those of you new to LinkedIn or Facebook, I highly advise you to take it slow and only build your networks slow and steady. Do not rush in, having 500 friends or connections is not an achievement. Do not dilute your network, as very soon, you will drown in the amount of noise it creates for you.