On Linkedin’s recent changes

Just yesterday Linkedin made a change in the way their site
operates: In the past, when you did a search or otherwise found someone’s
profile, you saw exactly how many connections they had. The number of
connections, for many (dare I say all, with varying degrees of admission) mean
something in themselves, and when Linkedin made this change it upset many
people.

Primarily the big guns – folks with 5,000, 10,000, or even
23,000+ connections. These people have put a lot of time and effort into
building such huge networks, and they feel slighted that their work is now
being hidden, in a way.

Another camp says that’s a bunch of bunk, and it’s not about
the numbers, and nobody should be complaining.

Scott Allen, of Virtual Handshake fame, recently wrote on
the MyLinkedinPowerForum:

People should â??right-sizeâ?? their network according to their business model, available time, and objectives. For some people, having several thousand contacts on LinkedIn makes reasonable sense. For others, it would be a waste of time, perhaps even a liability. What I see the removal of numbers and rankings about 500 doing is removing an artificial bias. LinkedIn isnâ??t taking away a precious feature, theyâ??re fixing a public performance metric that encouraged behavior that, on average (not in every case), is detrimental to the overall â??healthâ?? of the network and conflicts with their positioning and primary value proposition to their primary target market.

[bold added by me]

Then it occurred to me – Linkedin really has taken numbers
out of the picture.

500+ is no longer a quantity – it’s a merit badge. They’ve
just separated the population of Linkedin into two groups – the “five
hundreders” and the “others”. I don’t know if this is what Linkedin expected, but I believe that many users who would have been quite content at 200 or so connections, will now feel a certain pressure to jump to the other group. Will that not drive more of the casual mass invitations they were seeking to avoid?

If Linkedinâ??s going to do this, why stop there? Why not do
the full Monty, and instead of numbers of connections at all show â??Newâ??, â??10+â??,
â??25+â??, â??100+â??, â??500+â??, â??1000+â??, etc.?

What do you think?

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