LinkedIn Open Networkers : LIONS, LIRONS and BEARS, oh my…

I have some older posts (currently un-WordPressed but scattered elsewhere on the interwebs) dealing with the subject of “Linked In Open Networkers” aka “LIONS” aka “ 10,000+connections ” aka “ ”   Rather than dig those up, though, here’s a question posted a few minutes ago, in the LinkedIn Answers Forum:

As an ardent LI OpenLinker, I see value in accepting all invitations I receive. What are the arguments against accepting all invitations and what is the benefit to keeping my list of connections to only those who I know?
Thank you for your thoughts on this question.

Jeffrey L. Taylor

Posts like this always generate lots of comment from the usual advocates and opponents of “open networking.”  Here’s my reply:

 Regarding the LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers):

“I’m not a LION myself, but some of my best friends are.”

While it’s true that there are different kinds of networkers and different kinds of LinkedIn users, there is clearly a tension in LinkedIn (and other online social networks) that arises from there being only one connection type and having to accept or decline invites as a yes/no proposition.

I’ve written about this before: If we could qualify our connection types and have certain website functionality based on that, it would preserve the ability for people to be more or less “open” in their online networking style while solving most of the tensions that arise from these different styles having to co-exist in the same system.

I agree with the “giant phone book” theory, but in reality, it doesn’t play out like that. In fact, one of my primary uses of LinkedIn is as a bizdev research tool. As such, I’ve accepted a certain number of “LION” invites, if only to give myself a better view into the network. From the researcher/recruiter’s point of view, LIONs serve a useful purpose as the “connective tissue” of this organism.

I prefer close, quality connections. But life is filled with casual (and even transient) acquaintances too. I’m not a LION… I’m a LI(R)ON… a LinkedIn (Reasonably) Open Networker. Any other Lirons out there? Ligers? Tigons?


That summarizes my position on this issue, for the time being.  I certainly respect those who don’t accept LinkedIn invites from people they don’t know….  I don’t do it either (except now and then to snag a really big lion who’s connected to an otherwise invisible part of the network)… and I even respect those who don’t accept LinkedIn invites from people they met once at a conference… or who they met just once for lunch… or who they know from work but only for a few months… or who aren’t their best buddies in the world. Everyone’s gotta do what’s right for them.  I just think the LinkedIn system could be improved somewhat to allow for these shades of “trustedness.” 

The Misunderstood Liger




About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on June 22, 2007, in LinkedIn, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Do you know any place where I can get readymade spreadsheet of all the open network contacts?

  2. There are a number of LION-aggregator sites out there. One well known site is ( — They have some lists that you could scrape and put into a spreadsheet. Perhaps they’d even give you their list.

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