Are You a LION on LinkedIn?

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If you spend time on LinkedIn, you are bound to find some people whose profile's proclaim them to be a "LION." It took me a while, but along the way I learned that LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker.

LIONs will accept any and all invitations to connect. It is that simple.

Why do some people do this? Before they connected with you, you were a second level connection; your connections were third level connections to the LION. Once you connect, you are now first level to the LION, and your connections move up from third level to second connection level. It is all about the connections.

LIONs generally will also pass along any introduction request. Let's say I connect with Leo LION (I know I'm very clever), and I don't actually know Leo LION. I see they are connected to Peter Prospect, someone I really want to meet. Leo LION will happily pass along your introduction request.

It's at this point where the system weakens. Peter Prospect asks Leo LION asks "How well do you know Joel Ungar?" Leo LION has to say something like "I don't really know him but I'm connected to him on LinkedIn." 

What good is that? 

Peter Prospect might still look at my profile, but I think I'm damaged goods already.

I've decided to be much more selective in my connections. I'm not going to lie and say I know everyone really well. In fact, while I was going through my connections over the last few weeks to categorize them (see my earlier post Did You Know You Can Tag Your LinkedIn Connections? I Didn't) I removed about 30 connections. I honestly looked at them and said I have no idea who they are. If I have no idea who they are, then how can I introduce them to someone? I'm going to make a second pass through in the near future and contact some of the ones I kept that I'm not still sure about and then decide.

LIONs say they are do so because that is the purpose of LinkedIn, but I disagree. There are several measures of "how good you are" and one of them is the strength of your network.

What do you think? Anybody a LION and disagree with me? I really would like to hear what you have to say.

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I think I would rather be a cougar than a LION.