LinkedIn has been adding features, and a new one has popped up that seems like it might be worthwhile: You can now Break Connections yourself, rather than sending email to customer service. I don't see an official announcement of this, but Konstantin Guericke (VP of Marketing @ LinkedIn) posted the news to the LinkedInBloggers YahooGroup.
Why might this be worthwhile? My Outlook contacts list contains over 2000 people, most of whom I met once (business cards) and with whom I've interacted very little since then. With LinkedIn, I've got over 250 connections, most of whom are people I can truly pick out of a crowd (or who I would be glad to meet for the first time, if we are e-connections). However, I can scan through the list and see a number of names that make me scratch my head and wonder how we made the connection. To my mind, the point of LinkedIn is to help one another make business connections, and I don't believe I can do this if I have basis upon which to recommend the person. Fortunately, this has only been an issue one or two times.
They are also planning future enhancements where you can rate the strength of the connection, which could help some of my concerns about how well I know people.
If you want a better summary of this, Konstantin included in his announcement this list of Top 10 reasons members break connections:
- Accepted invitation without realizing that sender could now ask for introductions, send profile updates, etc.
- Wants to keep connection list visible to connections, but a few bad apples "crept in" and so now hides her connection list from all
- Knew that you make introductions for connections, but weren't comfortable making introductions because they didn't know the sender well enough to recommend them, sender picked poor targets or sender's pitch to meet the target included only a poor value proposition for target
- They show their connection list, but connection doesn't theirs
- Connection didn't recommend their connections when making introductions for them, so their connection put them into an awkward position with regards to their connections who was the target
- Connection asked for too many introductions, sent too many profile updates, etc.
- Connection added things to their name field that shouldn't be there (email address, strange symbols, etc.)
- Had a falling out with the connection (in life, didn't act on their introduction requests, gave endorsement to connection, but now want to remove it, etc.)
- Wants to get rid off people in second degree who water down strength of network by having connections they don't even know
- Just too many connections--now wants quality over quantity to create a better LinkedIn experience
When I asked Konstantin if it is okay to post this list, he gave his okay and sent along an additional list. This is the more positive version: how to decide which connections to keep (or accept in the first place). One can use as many of these criteria as they like, or none at all.
- You know a person well and can draw on your experience of working together to add value when making introductions
- You are happy to make time to help a person because your connections will generally thank you for introducing him/her
- You trust the person
- You know the person, but haven’t worked with them. However, they are highly regarded by respected business people, it would be bad business for you to turn them down, you want to do business with them AND they are not likely to wear out their welcome with your and your contacts.
- The person targets people they want to meet well and write compelling proposals that show value for the recipient