Pros/Cons of Reducing LinkedIn Connections
August 6, 2016 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Right now I'm connected to 375 people on LinkedIn, and I'd really like to remove 25+ of those people because our relevance to one another has dwindled. Could this have any downsides I'm not thinking about?

The main concern I have is about whether or not it would be inadvisable to disconnect from a former boss and coworkers at a particular company I used to work for. That accounts for about 10 people I'd be removing from my connections. The rest are recruiters and people who connected with me ages ago but I have no idea who they are or why they connected with me in the first place. Do recruiters actually care about connection counts in this way, or am I overthinking this?
posted by Hermione Granger to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My take on "the goal" for LinkedIn is that your connection count demonstrates a strong professional network, particularly if you can get to the vaunted 500+ status, and there's no reason to remove people because you never know when that connection (or their connections) might be helpful to your career. (This is probably what LinkedIn wants us to believe for their own monetizing benefit, so take it with a grain of salt...)

FWIW I personally have found LI helpful in mining 2nd level connections for introductions when I was job-hunting, and in networking on the job.

I did remove a connection to the boss that fired me, but otherwise have stayed connected to just about everyone else. I do occasionally unfollow (but don't disconnect from) people who post too much or post content that's not interesting to me.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: There are basically two reasons to disconnect from someone on LinkedIn:

1. They are a bad, bad person and it is known that they are a bad, bad person and you don't want to be associated with them.
2. They are terrible recruiter who is abusing your connections and it reflects poorly on you. Which is really just a subset of 1.

Otherwise, the point of LinkedIn is to be connected to as many people as possible so you can be connected to their people so that maybe someday it might help you find a job. I'm not actually convinced that it is in any way useful for those things, but if you think LinkedIn has any value at all, then you want to be connected to more people, not fewer.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:44 AM on August 6, 2016 [13 favorites]

I think LinkedIn is more useful when I am only connected to people I actually know. I disagree that the point is to be connected to as many people as possible; if I'm connected to somebody who I wouldn't expect to help me in a job search, and who I would be unwilling to help, there's not much point in that. I think it's fine to disconnect from people. While some people may care about the number of people you're connected to, I don't think most people care, and it's not really relevant; it's not like Twitter, where if people are connected to you, it means they are actually interested in you in some way.
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:43 AM on August 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Even if you'd rather keep your circle smaller, I think there's a difference between choosing not to connect to people on LinkedIn and disconnecting from them. Why burn bridges, even with people you don't find tremendously helpful?
posted by jacquilynne at 11:02 AM on August 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ooh... Lots I didn't think about.

The boss and coworkers are unfortunately people I really, really don't want to be connected to anymore because they made my life hell. Even though I've unfollowed them so their updates don't show up on my feed, strangers ask me to introduce them to Boss on a weekly basis, which means I'm reliving the stress Boss put me through whenever I get a new InMail.

Three of the 25 are recruiters from job agencies who now have bad reps in my industry. The rest are people who have neither profile information nor a photo attached to their accounts.

Would you say that the quasi-empty connections are worth keeping just to keep my connection count padded? Should I ditch the crummy recruiters, but keep the old job people anyway?
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2016

I occasionally weed out recruiters* because I feel like having too many in my connections makes me look like I'm halfway out the door. This is based purely on my own perception and not, you know, reality.

*There seems to be two categories of recruiters: ones that want to connect because we've interacted in some capacity during a job search and ones that want to connect because they haven't sprung for the paid tier that allows them to send more than a handful of InMails/mo. I weed out the second group without remorse.
posted by jamaro at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2016

I think the people you are thinking of disconnecting from are fine to cut.
posted by COD at 1:02 PM on August 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have done this on a similar scale to you, mainly removing connections who I don't actually know. It has not stopped people from finding me through LinkedIn. I currently have a decent queue of connection requests from random people both from inside and outside my industry. My personal policy now is to only connect with people I actually have met before.
posted by noneuclidean at 2:44 PM on August 6, 2016

strangers ask me to introduce them to Boss on a weekly basis, which means I'm reliving the stress Boss put me through whenever I get a new InMail.

If the connection actively bothers you, then disconnect.

If the connection makes you look bad, then disconnect.

Keeping connections is only worthwhile if it benefits you. People saying that you might as well keep them on are saying that because they thought you mean that you weren't buddy-buddy, or hadn't spoken in a while. In that case, there is no cost to keeping them connected with you. Here, there is obviously a substantial cost to you. In the case of former coworkers, it is emotional. In the case of the sketchy recruiters, it is a potential cost to your reputation. So cut them off.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:52 PM on August 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all. I've removed the people I no longer want to be connected with and feel much, much better about it.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:15 PM on September 3, 2016

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