Thursday, September 24, 2009

LinkedIn to More Than a Million

I noticed recently that I am linked to more than a million professionals on LinkedIn. The number of people in my network has been growing since I began using LinkedIn years ago. However, I noticed that within the past few months it was growing at a faster rate and even approaching 1,000,000. I planned to write a blog post on the accelerated growth and my excitement that the number would soon be more than a million. Alas, I waited too long. Within a few days of considering the idea it was too late. I already passed the mark. I've also discovered the rapid increase is continuing.

The thing I find exciting is during the last several months I have added very few connections on LinkedIn. I connect with one or two people a month. So the number of my connections hasn't increased that much but the number of people I am connected to is growing faster and faster. Pretty cool. Building my network has gotten to the point where it grows with or without me. This is a really powerful phenomenon. I have been very particular who I connect with on LinkedIn. I currently have just over 100 connections. If you're not familiar with the way LinkedIn works you have three degrees of separation included in your network. So the group of people you are linked to includes your connections (1st level), their connections (2nd level), and their connections (3rd level). If you have 100 connections and the same is true for each of your 1st level connections that would add up to 10,000 professionals as 2nd level connections. Add in each of their 100 connections and you find your way to 1,000,000 3rd level connections.

Now for some fun. What happens to the number of people you are linked to if you add 1 connection? If that one connection has 100 connections who also have 100 connections you just increased your network by 10,000. If each of your 100 connections added one connection, each with 100 connections, your network would increase by another 10,000 people. This means if everyone added one connection a month you would gain 20,000 new members in your network.

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