Recommendations and network size are two completely different things. (Although the bigger your network, the more choice you have in asking for recommendations.)
I like recommendations for several reasons:
- They differentiate you from your competitor.
- They are rich fodder for building business testimonials (to transfer to your website).
- They give your reader a sense of your abilities and diverse talents.
- They can qualify you as an expert.
Now do you need a hundred testimonials all saying the same thing? God no. But enough recommendations from a diverse range of people for each position can’t hurt.
Onto networks. I’m a LION who understand the LaMB (check out my blog to see what I am talking about: https://linkedinexpert.wordpress.com/ ). The simple truth is, the bigger the network, the more access you have. And while not everyone in your network will be a diamond in your business tiara, you’ll have a wider range to pick from. And just because I have 4000 direct connections, doesn’t mean I don’t know 400 of those people well enough (strategically) to pick up the phone. But if I kept my network at 200 people, well – that’s all I’d have access too.
I know LIONs aren’t popular because some people really abuse the system and bulk email their list ad nauseum verging on SPAM. I agree that is an abuse of the LinkedIn system and I immediately block those folks in my Outlook filter. Being a LION, I have to be very careful and honorable with my list – using it strategically. I don’t do bulk mailings. I try not to infringe upon the privacy of a complete stranger.
I’m hoping that one day LinkedIn has a rating system that will allow us to grade our connections as friends or acquaintances – but until then, I’ll continue to be a LION that acts like a LaMB.