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I joined LinkedIn late in the game – at the tail-end of 2004. It’s great for re-finding old colleagues and friends; it’s also pretty good for finding potential candidates for open positions.

I’ve tried to keep within the spirit of these ‘social viral networks’ – networking only with people I know well! Here’s a snippet from LinkedIn:

“Who to Invite?”

When you invite a friend or colleague, be sure they would make a good connection for you.

Only invite those you know well
You may be asked to tell one of your trusted friends more about the person you invite. And they may have to do the same for you.
Only invite those you trust
Sometimes you’ll forward a request (either yours, or from a friend) through them. Be sure you trust them to represent you, and to be careful with a potentially serious request.
Only invite those you want to forward things to you
Your connections will forward you requests from other members. Be sure the people you invite know you well enough to send you only things you are interested in.

Even with this recommendation – I get pinged about ten times a week with people wanting to build the ‘biggest network’. I’ve even been sent a whitepaper by one guy justifying why this is ‘a good thing’.

My own take – power networking skews the links and the network itself; with a handful of large hub members you are indirectly connected to many many thousands of people you do not know. How can this help directly with your own requirements?

The only winners seem to be recruiters.