|Word Count: 1,917
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.
When LinkedIn launched, it was a social media site that encouraged people in the work world to connect with other known professionals for networking and career development. People were categorized as either (1st) which were direct connections, (2nd) which is someone who knows someone you know or (3rd) someone who knows someone that knows someone you know. They tracked up to three degrees of separation between people. In the early days of LI, someone with over 500 connections was considered to be a mover-and-shaker. The site discouraged linking to people outside those known at work, school or social circles. In turn, people were hesitant to link with people they didn’t know for fear that the site would be abused by salespeople and scammers.
Now, 15 years later, LinkedIn has evolved, describing itself as “a business- and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites and mobile apps.” The LI website says that “LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 530 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.” Their mission “is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Besides having direct connections, particularly “popular” people also have thousands to hundreds of thousands of “Followers” who simply want to read (articles and posts) what that person has to say. (For those unfamiliar with LI, a Follower isn’t necessarily a connection, but all of a person’s connections are Followers.
Some may wonder why anyone wants to “Follow” a person on LinkedIn that they don’t know and will probably never meet, and who might not even be in the same country and is likely to not even be in the same industry or field. Think of an Airline and Hospitality manager in Mumbai, India “following” a Chief Technology Officer at the Daily Mail in London. On the surface, they have little in common and are highly unlikely to ever interact. (These real contacts are, in fact, connected.) So what does an Influencer do that is deserving of so many Followers worldwide? Welcome to the new LinkedIn. It is a social media site where people not only connect with people they know, but actually seek to connect with people they want to know and people who offer information and insights of value. It serves as a public forum for professional voices. Some become so active that they are invited to be “Influencers.” Many of these Influencers are Recruiters and HR professionals, who are in the business of finding and knowing top talent. But many others are “gurus” in their own field such as leadership, management, marketing, technology, or sales. They not only offer advice and insights, but they also help those in their network in a variety of intangible and tangible ways. And even those who aren’t Influencers are helping contacts they hardly know, even when there is absolutely nothing in it for them. That’s because the focus of the new LI is not “what can you do for me?” but “what can we do for each other?”
The TEAM Concept
The new LinkedIn has brought a whole new meaning to the term “TEAM.” The concept, recently shared by Lamar Morgan — a contact on LinkedIn who calls himself “Crowd Mechanic, GoTo Person, and Social Media Marketer” – is an acronym that means “Together, Everyone Achieves More.” While not the original author of the TEAM concept, Morgan sees this TEAM concept as the embodiment of the aphorism that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” And he embraces this approach.
The networking and sharing that Morgan does on LinkedIn, which is seen by his 30,275 Followers, is intended to help the overall audience with their careers… all for the collective good. His view is that in doing for others – serving, guiding and sharing with others in his LI network — he too will benefit because the rising tide will raise his boat as well. According to Morgan, “I find tremendous value in serious business networking. It even has a name – “netweaving.” Morgan has published about two dozen articles on LI and attends networking events monthly, even serving as Keynote Speaker for some professional events.
The TEAM concept is right on point with how the “new LI” is now being used for maximum effectiveness. According to a post by DEsign at Archive.org, TEAM is about the five Cs: collaboration, communication, coordination, contributions and cohesion. It consists of a group of people with various complementary skills, working together towards a common vision. TEAM members operate with a high degree of trust, accountability and interdependence. They share authority and responsibility for self-management and seek to create synergy with a strong sense of mutual commitment. But here is the key. “TEAM generates performance together that is greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.” Teamwork is seen as the fuel that allows ordinary people to attain extraordinary results. By helping one another, all members of the team are able to move forward together to realize their true potential and surpass individual limitations. Their mantra is that “Let’s do it” is more powerful that “I can do it” or “You can do it.” TEAM is about less “me” and more “we.” That is the direction LI seems to be going.
If this concept seems new age-y or too pie-in-the-sky, consider that teamwork has existed for thousands of years. In their article, the Creative Cloud Team at Adobe talked about teamwork that existed during in the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (approximately 2,589 to 2,566 BCE) “Imagine the teamwork it took to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. To raise it, laborers moved into position six-and-a-half million tons of stone—some in blocks as large as nine tons—with nothing but wood and rope. Originally 481 feet high with sides of 760 feet at its base, it was the biggest building on the planet until the early 20th century. It represents 20 years of high performance work by a team estimated at 100,000 workers.” Pyramids of Giza – which still exist today nearly 5,000 years later – are a prime example of how ordinary people can work together to produce extraordinary results. The difference is that today’s version of TEAM on LI focuses on all the members of the team achieving and succeeding.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
There are many people like Morgan who view their LinkedIn connections as their own “TEAM”. Adam Karpiak is another LinkedIn contact who believes in networking and helping his 31,424 Followers. Working as a Public Accounting Recruiter and listed on LI (humorously) as a Candidate Therapist, Karpiak also introduces himself to people by saying that “On LinkedIn, I help people network effectively.” He considers posting, writing, advising and engaging on LinkedIn a part of his overall job. He offers a free review/critique of any person’s LI page or resume.
According to Karpiak, “Yes, I am in a different location and industry, but people in my network aren’t. Networking is like sales. Build a pipeline. Grow your network. Then, when you *do* need something from someone, it’s easier (And sooooooo much less awkward).”
Karpiak’s advice to his Followers is to stop thinking “What do you do?” and instead think “Together, what are we capable of?” The idea is to look at LI as a place to help others, and in turn be helped by others. A person’s LinkedIn network becomes a TEAM; a massive group of people who help one another to succeed.
Steve Hatch, Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at WiSH4 Recruiting Consultants and another LinkedIn contact with 7,434 followers, also believes in networking and doing for others. His recent advice to LI users was to “Plant seeds. Add water, sunlight, and time. Focus on this and there will be an abundance of crops. Skip these steps and it’s slim pickings.” He added, for those who don’t speak metaphor, that “The seeds are connections. The water is engagement, such as reading, posting, commenting, publishing, etc. The sunlight is the value you bring such as advice, guidance, encouragement, or other connections. Time is time spent on LI. The crops are the job opportunities, employee candidates, sales, partnerships, industry insights and tips, references, collaborators, commiserators, and opportunities to help others. And, in this analogy, LinkedIn is the dirt.” This is how well-connected and highly influential people are using LinkedIn today to help and be helped.
Above and beyond all of the well-connected on LI are the most influential contacts, the LI Influencers. LinkedIn Influencers are selected “by invitation only” and comprise what they consider to be a global collective of the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders, and innovators. According to LinkedIn, “As leaders in their industries and geographies, Influencers discuss newsy and trending topics such as the future of higher education, the workplace culture at Amazon, the plunge in oil prices, and the missteps of policy makers. A team of editors works with the Influencers to create content in the form of articles and posts that we believe make our members more informed professionals and spark thoughtful conversations.” 
To get an idea of just how many Influencers there were, writer/editor Lee Bob Black compiled and published a list of all the LinkedIn Influencers in May 2016. At that time, there were 752 total LinkedIn Influencers. Of those 558 were male (74.2%) and 194 were female (25.8%). He used a manual process to do this research. (Since then LinkedIn removed the links that would allow anyone else to manually identify every LI Influencer.) LinkedIn itself now has a list of groups and individuals that have the highest number of Followers. Individual Influencers for 2017 include (in the order listed by LI):
- David Cameron 2,531,369 Followers
- James Caan 2,971,504 Followers
- Jeff Wiener 7,310,985 Followers
- Daniel Goleman 4,294,829 Followers
- Guy Kawasaki 2,652,088 Followers
- Bill Gates 11,487, 503 Followers
- Ariana Huffington 6,543,453 Followers
- Jack Welch 6,165,369 Followers
- Deepak Chopra, MD 5,228,449 Followers
- Richard Branson 13,180,934 Followers
- Gretchen Rubin 2,431,444 Followers
- Mark Cuban 3,368,996 Followers
- Narendra Modi 2,389,736 Followers
- Tony Robbins 3,319,937 Followers
- T. Boone Pickens 1,794,545 Followers
Obviously the top LI Influencers are famous business people, writers, celebrities and politicians who were influential before and/or despite LinkedIn. But the amazing part is that thanks to LinkedIn, other more “average Joes and Janes” are achieving Influencer status with thousands of followers, such as Oleg Vishnepolsky, the aforementioned Chief Technology Officer at the Daily Mail in London, who publishes posts almost daily, is adored by fans worldwide which include 260,464 Followers. He often writes about his past experience hiring and managing people.
Vishnepolsky, like Karpiak, Morgan, and many others have vast networks and a great deal of influence, and they all seem to share one other thing in common… they bring to the LI table their time, expertise, advice and even direct assistance to those in their network. They service it up willingly, regularly and kindly. And they do this for the greater good and with the thought that ultimately a rising tide raises all boats.
Quote of the Week
“To be successful you can’t show up to the potluck with just a fork.”
 November 12, 2017, LinkedIn Press Page, https://press.linkedin.com/about-linkedin?#
November 6, 2017, LinkedIn Mobile Message from Lamar Morgan to Keren Peters Atkinson
September 26, 2010, By Design, “The Meaning of TEAM, Together, Everyone Achieves More!”, https://archive.org/details/TheMeaningOfTeam.TogetherEveryoneAchievesMore
 May 19, 2015, By The Creative Cloud Team, “TEAM, Together Everyone Achieves More”, https://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/team-together-everyone-achieves-more/
 November 8, 2017, By Adam Karpiak, LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/akarpiak/detail/recent-activity/
 November 8, 2017, By Steve Hatch, LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/keren-peters-atkinson-0945848/detail/recent-activity/
 March, 2017, By the LinkedIn Help Center, “LinkedIn Influencer”, https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/49650?lang=en
 September 26, 2016, By Lee Bob Black, Quora, https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-resource-or-list-that-has-all-the-LinkedIn-influencers-to-date
 2017, By LinkedIn Pulse, “Discover”, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/discover
© 2017, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.