An interesting opinion from the founder of LinkedIn and one which can be called into question. In short, he says that we should only really connect with people with whom we have a real relationship, not just with anyone, because we should be able to use our LinkedIn network as a referral network.
I think he is maybe having a dig at those people with 10k+ person networks and his point being, could we really ask all of these people for an introduction? Probably not, but that's ok.
If you view LinkedIn and the social networks as a digital extension of your physical business life, then this statement maybe becomes a bit absurd. I couldn't ask everyone in my everyday life for a favour or recommendation, nor would I want to.
LinkedIn can mean different things for the different contacts we have. I can use it for different things - both a way to nurture existing business relationships and stay in touch with people (being nosy/keeping up with university friends, for example) but also, it is very valuable as an introductory tool AND it also provides a way for someone to check me out prior to a meeting.
Equally, if we only relied on our really close connections to do introductions for us, it might actually get pretty difficult to get anywhere in life. So, you need to find a happy medium between having a network which works for you and a network you can rely on.
I suppose some people feel the need to have big networks on LinkedIn as it makes us appear as someone who is well connected in the traditional sense and worth connecting with.
"LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It's up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, 'Would you introduce me?' you're in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit."