Back when I was heavily experimenting with LinkedIn, I was somewhat frustrated about how slowly my network was growing. That is, people that I linked weren’t linking in people that they knew, so it was mainly filled with people that I already knew.
One of the great things that came about from that spate of experimentation was a connection with Andrew Jones. I hesitated about asking him to connect with me directly, since we had only communicated via email, and he was (quick calculation…Evan -> Brendon -> Andrew) 3 degrees away from me. But in the end, I was “linked” to Andrew.
I just recently went back to my LinkedIn page, and found it polluted! Filled with page after page of people that were so far removed, with so many other links, that I would never think of contacting them. So, I think I’m in favour of short-chain links – they are more valuable. You can search by “degrees away”, but that is also only useful if all the links are actually strong links. That is, I would never link in someone that I didn’t really know or had some direct interaction with.
What actually prompted me to write was Dan York’s most recent (27 Jul 2003) diary entry, where he talks about similar issues with key signing.