You know when receive a new request to 'add someone to your network' or a a friend request?

The role of trust

There are two main aspects at play here - the numbers of people in common, and the people you have in common (if you were to add them in).

In essence, if you see lots of friendly faces, people you trust, as mutual friends, you are probably far more likely to add people in.

I realized the power of the trust signal this gives when someone has already been accepted by a large part of your network.
There will be a figure as well - 10 creating a certain level of trust, and 100 creating another. It will all depend, but the response is determinable based on the circumstances of that individual.

If you already know the person, and have your 'mind made up' that you do or don't want to have them as part of their network - and if you don't, then they will be rejected.
It is in all other circumstances that the a) profile picture, b) their name (e.g. could be a family member), and c) the 'mutual friends' aspect, that will tend to determine the responses people get to the approach.

Building your network.

If you want to build the best network, you will want to start making friends.
And the existing mutual friends is just a scan away, seeing who you have in common and whether you trust their judgement.

Then you confirm, or don't.

Having 'good friends', or people who say 'you are in' (i.e. accept you), will determine therefore whether your approaches will be accepted, or not.

On Facebook, for instance, you can see the influence here in terms of numbers of people who are already 'mutual friends'.

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Then we have the same principle on Linkedin:

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And as I say, the 'who' is in common really matters.

A similar principle applies on Facebook and G+ too - but there is more of an asymmetry where people may e.g. circle you, but culturally there is view that you shouldn't have to circle back unless you really relate to them/their content.
(note: with Google+ Collections being a strong focus now, following content not people is also changing things.)

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