In the latest LinkedIn update, each persons number of contacts [ people with more than 500 contacts ] are no longer visible as accurate numbers. All you see [ whether you’re connected or not ] is “+500”.

If you are connected to the person then you can see all their contacts [ if they have kept their contacts list open ] but you will have to manually count how many there are.

My first reaction was “Good, now we will have more serious networkers – not people who just want to connect because of the numbers. Thank heavens – why didn’t LinkedIn think of this earlier!”

I get quite a few requests to connect every week and many of them want to connect only because of the number of my contacts [ +820 currently 😉 ]. So I will hopefully no longer have annoying requests to connect where people copy and paste the previous invitation without even changing the name.

The above reaction was for the QUALITY side of the networking game.

Then of course was the other aspect : the QUANTITY part.
Will I still be able to increase and expand my reach at the same rate? [ Every new contact brings in at least a handful of people I would not have had access to previously ].

The +500 feature does take off the burden from the mega-connectors, but they themselves do not feel happy about the implementation. One reason I believe would be that they have invested a lot of time and effort in building those large networks of more than 20,000 direct contacts and that is one reason why more and more new people want to be their direct contacts. They have sowed the seeds and have started reaping the rewards and now LinkedIn has taken away their very leverage.

The Quality Vs. Quantity debate is a never-ending one because there are so many people and everyone has a different opinion. What we need to realize is that both these qualities support each other. There will be no quality without quantity and no quantity without quality – because quality attracts quantity and quantity allows you to choose and set your level of quality.

I now feel that LinkedIn would do well by reversing this change.

Of course people are not going to quit LinkedIn only because of this change – but it will help LinkedIn gather their member base faster. They do brag on their main-page about the 4.8 million people – so I’m wondering why they would implement a feature that will potentially reduce networking exchanges on LinkedIn.

It is about choice. The customer needs to feel that he/she has a choice. And the +500 takes away that choice. To keep things fair to people who want to avoid people pestering them to connect just because they have a large number of contacts, LinkedIn could give a choice to members to implement the +500 if they wanted. So the mega-connectors could pick and choose depending on their needs and requirements.

Why should the networks and members be forced to accept a change because LinkedIn is not able to manage the Spam and abuse reports?