In January 2018 I reached 30,000 connections on LinkedIn. And because I’m a sad individual, when I checked my connection count on my phone and saw I hit a new milestone I launched a fist pump into the air. And then ping! A new connection request came through. The joys! But when I went to accept it this message popped up:
Perhaps it was an error? But when the next connection request came through and I tried to accept it the same message appeared. After doing some research it turns out that LinkedIn caps your connections at 30,000. I even had the @LinkedInHelp Twitter account confirm this…
The link goes to a page on LinkedIn Help about Network Size Limit; here’s some of what it has to say.
Here’s what I think.
Optimal Site Experience: I have spoken to many people who treat LinkedIn similar to Facebook i.e. they connect with only people they know personally (some people treat LinkedIn like Facebook in other ways too but we won’t go there). But my view is different, I’m a recruiter and having a large network (offline or online) can only work in my favour. Hypothetically, if someone offered me the chance to be connected with every LinkedIn user I would accept in a heartbeat. My connections not only know who I am and who I recruit for but I can message them for free and vice versa. This is my optimal site experience as I believe everyone has the potential to provide the highest relationship value (e.g. a connection may be a future hire, provide a referral or offer a business opportunity).
Removing Connections: LinkedIn doesn’t make this easy. You can’t remove connections in bulk, you need to go to each individual profile to do this.
Followers and Premium: Most of us are familiar with the concept of ‘followers’ (when using Twitter and Instagram for example), but this is not a feature you would associate with LinkedIn. The follow button is hidden behind the ‘More’ tab and though following may grant you visibility to someone’s posts, the point of LinkedIn is to connect. Unlike Twitter and Instagram, there’s a fee to send messages to your followers. The “Open Profile Premium” feature is part of LinkedIn Premium which starts at £24.98 per month.
The only reason I can think of for LinkedIn capping connections is to promote their paid services. If I’m connected to someone I don’t need to pay for an InMail or subscribe to LinkedIn Recruiter or Premium to message them. But LinkedIn could still make money without a cap. LinkedIn has 500M users and even if I had 500,000 connections that’s only 0.1% of the user base I can message for free. Capped at 30,000 I can message 0.006% of LinkedIn’s database.
Is it right of LinkedIn to enforce a cap to optimise your site experience? Or perhaps you think the cap is totally illogical? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.