How did I get to have so many connections and does it mean anything?
The first thing to stress is that I don’t seek out or accept random connections. If anyone within my target audience sectors asks to connect with me, I agree and often send a personal note back. I also often send personal notes to anyone I spot whom I know or who I would like to know and add as a new connection.
When I receive connection requests from strangers who are not from the accountancy or tax world, I send a note back asking them to confirm why they want to connect with me. If they respond with a good answer I agree to connect. Otherwise I go back and ‘ignore’ the connection request.
Using this approach means I probably agree to around one-third of the connection requests I receive. And I initiate just a few requests each week.
Despite being so choosy, I now have almost 10,000 1st level connections [Edited: May 2019] on Linkedin. And they are all therefore 2nd level connections with each other.
Because I have resisted connection requests from complete strangers, I rarely end up receiving spam messages through Linkedin. I think these are much more likely if you agree to connect with random people who may think that Linkedin is a new way to spam people.
I can count on the fingers of one hand how often I have had to go to the connections tab on Linkedin, search my connections for someone who has sent me spam and then disconnect from them. I think it has happened twice in the last 7 years.
Compared with LIONS* my 8,000 figure is nothing. But compared to most people in our profession it is a very healthy number. And I’m happy that it looks set to continue rising exponentially. If you’re reading this and we’re not yet connected on Linkedin you know what to do.
*LIONS are LinkedIn Open NetworkerS – They promote the fact that they connect with anyone and everyone. This approach has never appealed to me as past experience (on another platform) revealed the dangers and risks of connecting with so many strangers who then waste my time.