LION is an abbreviated term in the world of LinkedIn that you might not be familiar with yet.
It stands for LinkedIn Open Networker, and if you are a LION, it means that you are open to networking with someone that you haven’t met before, ever. This means that they bridge networks of people who otherwise would never have been connected with one another.
If we all follow the generic rule of choosing ‘I don’t know’ for every person that invites us to connect that we don’t know, then it’s going to be pretty difficult to jump from one closed network to the next and bring them together.
So, as a result, LIONs accept invitations from anyone who offers one. So, is it completely risk-free to invite a LION into your network? We think so.
However, apart from LinkedIn itself, there is no other authority that is governing what happens on the professional platform, which means that if a LION responds to an invitation with I don’t know, then they don’t get penalized – you do.
This means that while it’s relatively safe to invite someone who is a LION into your LinkedIn network, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get an IDK response from them. This is why it’s important to still review all of the profiles of people that ask to connect with you so that you can make sure whether they are legit or not.
Does LinkedIn Discourage LIONs?
Originally, we don’t think that LinkedIn was very on board with the idea of a LION, which is why they limited the number of invitations that you could send out, as well as limiting how many connections are displayed to 500.
This is perhaps because they want to keep their community of professionals small so that people can avoid being scammed. There are some people out there who are just trying to connect with others with the intent of building up their connection list, which means that they don’t necessarily have the best of intentions.
This is why for the most part, LinkedIn wants people to know each other when they connect, which is why you get the option of choosing ‘I don’t know’ if you are invited to connect with someone who you don’t really know.
It’s only recently that LinkedIn has allowed LION groups to exist, so these days they are taking a more neutral approach. In fact, they even implemented the ability to search for LION groups, which makes it easier to join them. However, they still place limitations on those who already have a lot of connections and seem to send out a lot of invitations.
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So, ultimately we think that LinkedIn did discourage LIONs from existing on their platform once upon a time, but gradually they have warmed up to the idea. As long as you are following LinkedIn’s rules around connecting with people, you should be fine.
Just make sure that you don’t overdo it and go crazy, otherwise, you will not only get on LinkedIn’s radar for the wrong reasons, but you might become known as someone who is just trying to make connections for the sake of it. Try to find some LION groups that you can join, where you have this in common with everyone in it.
Good luck, and remember above all to respect the platform so that you can still be using it in a few years.