What Does It Mean to Add Someone to Your Network on LinkedIn?
By Adrian Grahams
The colleagues, business partners, classmates or friends you add to your professional network on LinkedIn are known as "connections." Anyone you add to your LinkedIn network becomes a "first degree" connection, and this enables you to endorse and recommend each other, view contact information and communicate through network updates and LinkedIn's email message service. Typically, you can also view your connection's own network of contacts and communicate with them.
Every LinkedIn member can see a shortened version of your profile while signed in to the website, but only the people in your connections network can view more detailed profile information, including your contact details. LinkedIn recommends inviting only the people you know and trust to join your connections network so that your contact information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
LinkedIn Email Messages
LinkedIn has its own internal email system, known as LinkedIn InMail. LinkedIn Premium members with paid subscriptions can send messages to other users, but anyone can send LinkedIn InMail messages to the people in their own network of connections. The message goes to your connection's LinkedIn Inbox and, depending on his notification settings, may also go to his personal email address.
Network and Group Updates
After connecting to another person on LinkedIn, you will both see each other's network activity updates on the LinkedIn homepage news feed. Updates can include any recent LinkedIn activity, from adding connections and liking posts to endorsing a contact's professional skills or recommending her based on a previous role. You can customize the type of connection updates that appear on your homepage from the LinkedIn Settings screen or the homepage itself. If you and your connection both belong to the same LinkedIn Group, you can also follow her group activity.
Adding connections on LinkedIn creates an extended network of contacts formed from the people in your connections' own networks. If you want to communicate with someone in your extended network, you can use the LinkedIn Introduction tool to send a message through the mutual connection. Your connection has the option to approve or reject the message to prevent inappropriate messages or spam, but a successful introduction is a useful way to show interest in a job vacancy or communicate with influential people outside your own network.
Recommendations and Endorsements
Recommendations on LinkedIn are similar to the references you might include on a professional resume. After connecting to someone on LinkedIn, you can both write a brief recommendation for each other based on performance in a current job or previous role. Accepted recommendations appear on your LinkedIn profile, and the people in your connections network can access and read the recommendations. LinkedIn connections can also endorse each other for specific skills.
Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.