What is a TRUE LinkedIn LION?

What-is-a-TRUE-LinkedIn-LION-V1

Today I received a LinkedIn invite from someone who had the wording “TRUE LION” with a trademark symbol in their profile headline.  I was definitely confused about what this could mean, but after doing a little research on the issue, it is apparent that there is now a three-way fight for the heart of the LinkedIn Open Networker.

In order to fully understand the background, please make sure you read my previous posts on What is a LinkedIn LION? – A 2009 Revision, Are There People Monetizing Their LinkedIn Connections?, and Other Ways to Monetize your LinkedIn Connections.

In essence, there are is a large community within LinkedIn that treasures the opportunity to connect with others regardless of what that purpose may be.  Before the revised LinkedIn search application was made available a few months ago, the more connections that you had the easier you could be found because those with more connections would appear higher in the search results.  This is no longer the case, but despite that there are still numerous advantages to building out a large virtual network on LinkedIn if it is properly aligned with your objective.

The traditional LION movement still has its own original LION LinkedIn group, but TopLinked.com surpassed the original LION group in terms of membership sometime ago.  And more recently Networkers United has been gaining membership quickly, growing to 10,000 members in only three months.  This sort of growth is unprecedented since the time I have been a heavy LinkedIn user.  The unifying factor between these three groups, as well as a few others that exist on LinkedIn, is that the members of these groups usually will accept invites and not respond with the dreaded IDK.  The rapid growth of membership in Networkers United is a testament that there is still a growing appetite to openly connect from many LinkedIn members.

As reported on my monetizing your connections blog posts, both TopLinked.com and Networkers United have started new for-pay Invite Lists and a network affiliate system to pay handsome commissions to those networkers that get new members to sign up.  In fact, both groups have used their official LinkedIn Group names to advertise themselves whenever you see the logo appear in a group member’s profile:

“TopLinked.com ~ Check out the NEW TopLinked.com (now powered by OpenNetworker.com)”

“Networkers United – Community of Open Networkers that Refer Business, Exchange ideas, help others”

If I am not mistaken, both of these groups changed their official names in the last 48 hours as their battle for membership rages on.  With these groups getting the attention of the open networkers, it was only a matter of time before the original LION group struck back with their own marketing campaign.  And this is what the TRUE LION movement has come back with:

“LION (Trademark) Worn with Pride! [Choose wisely...] <BEWARE OF COUNTERFEITS>”

Further below in the group profile for this group appears the term “TRUE LION (Trademark)” for the first time.  So the TRUE LION movement is an attempt by the original LinkedIn LION group to both differentiate themselves as well as remind everyone that they are the “authentic” LinkedIn group for LIONs.

So, if you are a LION, do you now need to become a TRUE LION?  Absolutely not!  Remember, LION is about OPEN NETWORKING, so any attempt to say that one group is better than the next goes against the basic philosophy of what OPEN means.  In addition, considering how few characters we have to put in our Profile Headlines, just adding the four-letter “TRUE” word is asking a lot from its group members in terms of character investment.

That being said, I do expect that you will see this “TRUE LION” terminology in more profile headlines going forward.  Just don’t be confused about it, because a LION is a LION.  After all, if you declare yourself a LION, you become one!  It’s that simple.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
RT @connect2life: THIS x10000 A2: Rule 4: Invite people to the party - often times we forget to ask people to join and just expect it. #biz - 1 hour ago
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Comments

  1. says

    This whole thing is wierd – 99.9% of these ‘Open Networkers’ do nothing but send you an invite. There’s a whole culture built on invites and please don’t ‘IDK’ me, then they fall silent.

    If people spent a tiny fraction of their time actually reaching out to their online network, connecting with them, understanding what they do and how they can help them, as well as being clear too, on how others can help them, I believe there would be some actual networking going on!

  2. says

    This whole thing is wierd – 99.9% of these ‘Open Networkers’ do nothing but send you an invite. There’s a whole culture built on invites and please don’t ‘IDK’ me, then they fall silent.

    If people spent a tiny fraction of their time actually reaching out to their online network, connecting with them, understanding what they do and how they can help them, as well as being clear too, on how others can help them, I believe there would be some actual networking going on!

  3. Neal Schaffer says

    Jason,

    Thanks for your comment. And you hit the issue right on the head. It’s not about the number of connections you have. It’s about what you do with them after you have them and what your objective for using LinkedIn is. There is a strategy for collecting connections, and there are strategies for keeping a closed network…it all depends on what you want to do. So I couldn’t agree with you more: remember what you are on LinkedIn for in the first place and get networking!!!!

  4. says

    Good topic, and good replies.

    As I talked on the phone last year to Ivan Misner, he told me this: “Steven, every person needs V.C.P.” — what is it, I asked? and Mr. Misner told me: Visibility + Credibility = Profitability

    http://masterful-marketing.com/visibility-credibility-profitability

    “Dr. Ivan Misner developed this three phase relationship development model: Visibility–Credibility–Profitability or VCP, to help business owners understand how to generate profitable relationships.

    * Visibility – Be seen otherwise out of sight, out of mind. * Credibility – Develop the relationship so that people understand your value and how to refer business to you. * Profitability – Cultivating relationship with the right referral sources will result in profitable business relationships.

    The principles of networking transcend to social networking. How does the VCP model work in social networking? Building visibility and credibility using social media takes time but is worth it as it provides the venue from which you can create visibility and demonstrate your expertise. In many ways, it’s easier to develop this reputation online since the tools enable you to build your reputation on a daily basis. In person networking events happen frequently, but not 24×7.”

    Do these “groups” have it? Will they have it for long?

    Also, see this: http://tinyurl.com/WhySell and it’s replies.

    Makes sense, does it?

    – Steven Burda
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

  5. says

    Good topic, and good replies.

    As I talked on the phone last year to Ivan Misner, he told me this: “Steven, every person needs V.C.P.” — what is it, I asked? and Mr. Misner told me: Visibility + Credibility = Profitability

    http://masterful-marketing.com/visibility-credibility-profitability

    “Dr. Ivan Misner developed this three phase relationship development model: Visibility–Credibility–Profitability or VCP, to help business owners understand how to generate profitable relationships.

    * Visibility – Be seen otherwise out of sight, out of mind. * Credibility – Develop the relationship so that people understand your value and how to refer business to you. * Profitability – Cultivating relationship with the right referral sources will result in profitable business relationships.

    The principles of networking transcend to social networking. How does the VCP model work in social networking? Building visibility and credibility using social media takes time but is worth it as it provides the venue from which you can create visibility and demonstrate your expertise. In many ways, it’s easier to develop this reputation online since the tools enable you to build your reputation on a daily basis. In person networking events happen frequently, but not 24×7.”

    Do these “groups” have it? Will they have it for long?

    Also, see this: http://tinyurl.com/WhySell and it’s replies.

    Makes sense, does it?

    – Steven Burda
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

  6. Neal Schaffer says

    Very enlightening theory Steven. Agree 100% about visibility and credibility in relation to social networking. I also agree that it is easier to do it online, but I also believe that in person networking events help strengthen and solidify this bond to a point that cannot be reached virtually. As for the profitability part, well, in a broad sense, yes, there are advantages to being visible and credible that do not necessarily lead to monetary profit but would still be considered “profit” in its broadest definition. It all makes sense!

    – Neal

  7. says

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

    meaning… what matters is what something (or someone) is, not what it is called!

    Who cares if you’re a NU, TopLinked Member, MyLink500, TRUE LION or LION™ (yes, with a ™ in it!)

    The term is now synonymous with open networker, or a person who is willing to accept others into their direct network — someone who he or she may not know well enough. Call him or her by any other name — Opennetworkolius or Willingtoaccepyoutoorius (I just made those up, I may get a ™ on them) – they are who they are.

    LION (Linkedin Open Networker) is just a NOUN for that person this day.

    See CIO article on LIONs:
    http://tinyurl.com/SuperConnected

    When you google (verb) for someone or something, do you use Google.com or can you Yahoo him/her or it — or that’s not workable for you?

    :-)

    Have a great weekend,

    – Steven Burda
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

  8. says

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

    meaning… what matters is what something (or someone) is, not what it is called!

    Who cares if you’re a NU, TopLinked Member, MyLink500, TRUE LION or LION™ (yes, with a ™ in it!)

    The term is now synonymous with open networker, or a person who is willing to accept others into their direct network — someone who he or she may not know well enough. Call him or her by any other name — Opennetworkolius or Willingtoaccepyoutoorius (I just made those up, I may get a ™ on them) – they are who they are.

    LION (Linkedin Open Networker) is just a NOUN for that person this day.

    See CIO article on LIONs:
    http://tinyurl.com/SuperConnected

    When you google (verb) for someone or something, do you use Google.com or can you Yahoo him/her or it — or that’s not workable for you?

    :-)

    Have a great weekend,

    – Steven Burda
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/burda

  9. Neal Schaffer says

    They are all open networkers in my book…and, yes, LION is a noun, and that ‘s it! That being said, I have seen some activity on the LinkedIn Answers board today that say people are getting kicked out of these open networking groups…which just goes to show you that a true LION (WITHOUT the TM) transcends any LinkedIn Group!

    Have a good one!

    – Neal

  10. Neal Schaffer says

    Jason,

    Thanks for your comment. And you hit the issue right on the head. It’s not about the number of connections you have. It’s about what you do with them after you have them and what your objective for using LinkedIn is. There is a strategy for collecting connections, and there are strategies for keeping a closed network…it all depends on what you want to do. So I couldn’t agree with you more: remember what you are on LinkedIn for in the first place and get networking!!!!

  11. Neal Schaffer says

    Very enlightening theory Steven. Agree 100% about visibility and credibility in relation to social networking. I also agree that it is easier to do it online, but I also believe that in person networking events help strengthen and solidify this bond to a point that cannot be reached virtually. As for the profitability part, well, in a broad sense, yes, there are advantages to being visible and credible that do not necessarily lead to monetary profit but would still be considered “profit” in its broadest definition. It all makes sense!

    – Neal

  12. Neal Schaffer says

    They are all open networkers in my book…and, yes, LION is a noun, and that ‘s it! That being said, I have seen some activity on the LinkedIn Answers board today that say people are getting kicked out of these open networking groups…which just goes to show you that a true LION (WITHOUT the TM) transcends any LinkedIn Group!

    Have a good one!

    – Neal

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