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The Mechanics of LinkedIn
After opening an account, creating a profile, and importing personal contacts you’re ready to move out into the larger network. LinkedIn works for you based on who you already know. People you know and who acknowledge knowing you are bridges to new connections.
LinkedIn employs a tier system for organizing member’s relationships. A person’s position in relation to your personal network dictates the actions you’ll have to take to add them to your network.
LinkedIn’s hierarchy of connections is primarily structured in three levels. Your direct contacts are marked as 1st level, the contacts of your first level contacts are marked as 2nd level, and if someone is linked with a person who in turn is connected with one of your direct contacts that person is tagged as a 3rd level contact. If you have no connection, then they’re identified as out of network.
Also, all of the contacts of your 1st level contacts are made visible to you. LinkedIn even reveals the number of shared connections you have with a person, and the identity of the shared connections.