LinkedIn is automatically removing many connections between its members today, July 18th, 2016, following an email it sent to all “mega-connectors” (including me). A copy of the email LinkedIn has sent to mega-connectors about the Trimming Project can be found, for example, in these blog posts: Further LinkedIn Changes Agree Or Disagree ? and Why Is LinkedIn Blowing Up My Network?
Some members think that cutting connections is “Microsoft influence”, but I don’t think so; it will probably take a while for Microsoft and LinkedIn to finalize the deal. Reducing connections was not surprising, as the next logical move after recently stopping the largest networkers from growing networks further.
Before I proceed to write about today’s network reductions in more detail, let me say that I am not annoyed that LinkedIn is doing that. Consider these two points:
1. Our real-life connections with fellow professionals do not equal our LinkedIn connections, and, of course, we can keep them even if the computer-recorded ones are gone!
In the end, connections on LinkedIn amount to computer-stored information. “Connecting” and “messaging” functionality has provided ways to form and expand business relationships (thanks to LinkedIn!). It’s a tool that helps, but then it’s up to us to work and communicate with others in real life to each others’ benefit.
2. LinkedIn is a business making significant income from InMails, i.e. messages between the members who are not connected. It’s only natural that LinkedIn won’t want “too many” connections between members.
(Additionally, due to recent functionality changes, larger networks on LinkedIn have lost their advantages. For example, now only a small percentage of mega-connectors’ connections – and “followers” alike – are notified of the posted blogs and status updates. Instead, posts that make it to everyone’s streams are the ones most commented on.)
LinkedIn has created and continues to grow the world’s largest social network for professionals. I see some current functionality problems and some desired functionality added as more important that cutting down connections. (I’ll write another blog about those.)
With all that said, let’s get to some details on the LinkedIn Network Trimming project.
There’s no way to estimate precisely how many mega-connectors (members with 30K+ connections) there was before today, but the number was probably at least in the thousands.
Connections that LinkedIn is automatically removing today are the ones mega-connectors have made more recently. This is unfortunate because the most recent connections have often happened around some latest business discussions.
With a connection is removed, here is what to expect:
I.e., if you are a mega-connector – or recently connected to someone who is a mega-connector – you are losing all of each other’s contact information (phone numbers, physical addresses, Skype IDs, etc.). The notes and contact info of the 1st-level connections, except for email addresses, is information that was never possible to export, so it is just gone. You also won’t be able to send messages to each other any longer; it will have to be InMails.
As an additional side effect of removing “extra” connections, expect everyone’s visible networks to become smaller. LinkedIn search results will show more anonymous results (those “outside of your network”) than before.
It’s a good moment for mega-connectors, “LIONs” to rethink how they want to proceed!
P.S. Interestingly, someone has forwarded a LinkedIn Rep reply when he enquired about removing connections. Here it is: