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December 05, 2009


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Dave Trosdahl

I see this is a rather old thread, but I consider myself a LION. The more people I meet, the better the chances I have of helping a small business owner increase his/her online presence.

Steve Willinger

Sean, it is a treat to learn about you and your thoughts on Social Media. When I grow up I wanna be just like you!
Hey, I started as a turtle and effective immediately, I am an Alley Cat.
Thank you,
Steve Willinger

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Jeannie Odza

Thanks for the tips. Personally I am an Alley Cat, I only invite those that know others I know, or have opportunity for business connections -- Chambers are a great source.

But I am now accepting invitations from most people - although I tend to check them out before accepting as there are those, Like LIONS, I don't want in my network as most of them tend to push out salesy comments on the site

Brad F

At this point, I'm a Hound Dog. The whole Twitter phenomena, as well this fine post, make a strong case for the Alley Cat strategy.

Martin Villig

Great post!

I am a LION because I believe that the larger the network, the more opportunities it creates. I use LinkedIn for business development, sales and hiring.


I'm an alley cat but started out as a hound dog. Wish I could take those hound dog weeks/months away. Linkedin gets better with age and as more people become comfortable with it. Also posts like your are very helpful. Thanks.

Annette Aaron

Sue Atkins

I think I must be an Alley Cat - which doesn't sound very nice but maybe I'm like Thomas O'Malley,the alley cat from The Aristocat film by Disney !

I'm called what Seth Godin calls a "Powerful Sneezer" in one of his great books - "The Purple Cow" I think, as my intention is always to provide value and help to as many people and parents as possible. Much of that value is provided through my blogs, and article writing where I share my parenting expertise through tips, strategies and practical techniques on how to be a more confident, relaxed and positive parent.
I'm not very confident with LinkedIn but I just LOVE Twitter - it's a matter of finding the medium you feel most comfortable with and being helpful - it's the gives gain mentality with sincerity.

Julie Nelson

Thanx Sean this is great,thought I maybe be a bit of each, and that is so typical of me, however I now know that I am mostly an Alley Cat and a good amount of Hound Dog. An Alley Dog perhaps.

Michael Pastien

I am a quite new Linker & tired of a turtle's pace of connections & ACTION! Thank you Sean, for True Value info....I'm going 2 to invite you to connect with me!";"} (Don't DNK me) thx


Sean this is great. Loved it! I will share your link with my other groups. MG

Concepció Roca

I just read the post, it's very interesting. Thanks, Sean!

Like many people here I'm basically a Hound Dog but atfer reading the post, I'm considering to became an Alley Cat...

Cheers from Barcelona, Spain

Rob Fitzgerald

Sean, I enjoyed your article. Being somewhat new to using LinkedIn as a networking tool for my job search not sure at this point if I am better off being a hound dog for now and then transitioning into an Alley Cat later.

In any event, your article in telling people how LinkedIn has helped you confirms to me that it has and will be an invaluable tool to me as I conduct my job search.

Patrick Buono

Hi Sean,

It was great to read what appears to be my evolution from Turtle to current Alley Cat networker. I admit, I aspire to be a LION but with a less preditory nature. I love to help folks, so I am open to connect with anyone as well as help anyone. Ultimate motive - learning! I love to learn new stuff.

Arlene - Jill of Virtual Assistants

I would definitely say I strongly identify with the Alley Cat with a bit of Turtle thrown in as quality connections are more important to me at the moment than quantity connections. It is my first time to venture into a new virtual business so I have to build a collaborative, long-standing relationship with lots of trust built in from either side. This was a great read.

Rayvon Bufkin

This was an interesting read. I would say that I'm a Hound Dog as I prefer to contact people I know, and I also collect business cards at meetings and send invitations to LinkedIn. I find it difficult to decide who to send an invitation, as I am retired Air Force and currently work for the VA. I’m just not sure how some of my connections can benefit me or I them. However, I am one who is always seeking opportunities so I will keep connecting, and if the opportunity presents itself I will seize it or pass it on to someone who can.

Larry Juliano


Great post!

I started as an Alley Cat then tried the LION approach. I've recently switched back to the Alley Cat with a Hound Dog twist because it means more to me to know who most of my contacts are versus being a numbers game.

Diane Said

A quote from my favorite kids movie "I'm a hound dog...a roooo roooo roooo roooo" - The Fox & The Hound.
I'm definitely a hound dog but I'll throw in some ally cat in there as well. I absolutely LOVE linkedin, love the people I've met through it and have made some pretty great friends, business contacts and insightful educators.
I think it's such a great way to bounce off ideas, and think problems through all the while getting a chance to help someone through it. Who could ask for a better tool??!!

Donna Gilliland

Interesting post. Based upon your descriptions,I am a mixed breed - Alley Cat and Turtle.

John Richards

From someone who just joined LinkedIn 3 weeks ago the ideas presented here are very valuable. My new business takes lots of time, so I approach anything that uses my time cautiously. Seeing what LinkedIn means to others helps me formulate my own strategy. The Alley Cat philosophy is the one that fits for me.

Sean Nelson

Its nice to see that though the competition is over the comments continue to creep in.

Thanks for the comments. The consensus seems to be that most people consider themselves Alley Cats, but that doesn't mean that there aren't LIONS, Turtles, and Hound dogs successfully making LinkedIn work.



Debbie Cantin

Great article! I am an alley cat who manages to land on her feet. This technique has opened the door to lots of new strategies and tips for recruiting top notch talent.

Bob Turel

Hey Sean,

Thanks for helping uncover my true identity! It's "eye of the tiger" for me. I'm hungry for connections, but only those that feel right, make sense, or put me in a position that allows me to assist in some way.
I've never been a cat lover, but now that you've shed some light on the "type", I won't pussy-foot around about it.

Bob Tankesley

Your new addition to the LinkedIn "type-ology" fits very well with the age-old adage: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Good work! (Again)
- Bob


Ima Hound dog! Keep em coming Sean!

Wayne Kurzen

Great post -- I am a hound dog. Keep the great info coming!


I am working being a better alley cat, it just too much sense not to be.


Alley Cat--definitely. A cat seems to always land on her feet no matter where she leaps or falls.

Mike Helms


But having had some successes with linked-en keeping track of property managers I am looking to evolve, I have joined various groups but really have not spent a lot of time on them.

Karol McCloskey

Not so long ago, I too was a Hound Dog but am now an Ally Cat; still do a great deal of hound-dogging, but you're right, the cat has nine lives and lands on its feet. I have not been disappointed with the connections who reach out to me first. Best to all!

John Wieschhaus


You hit on a key advantage that may not be immediately evident to new LinkedIn users. When you help others with a referral or introduction repeatedly, it will come back to you eventually. LIONS seem to value numbers which would diminish quality if they have a full time job and a family life but who knows. Thanks for the clarification and the strategies.

Rick Itzkowich

I appreciate the clarity you have brought to this subject for me. I started out as a Turtle, moved to beinga Hound Dog, thought about becoming a LION and finally settled on being an Alley Cat.

I was directed to this post by someone who posted a link to this article off a discussion I started here http://bit.ly/5Ayykz

I myself enjoy connecting people and sharing the value of LinkedIn. I love the fact that through Social Networking I've landed here and had an opportunity to learn from you. I will be adding this to my resource list for people to learn about LinkedIn.

Pam Leinmiller

Thanks for another great post! I enjoyed reading about myself as I'm basically and alley cat unless someone who strikes my intuition as "creepy" asks me to link and I just ignore them. I can't explain this, but also have only done that a couple of times. You have written another entertaining and informative piece.

Sean Nelson

This is the last official comments round up. One final thanks to everyone that commented.

Sid I think we’ve deemed those between an Aley Cat and a Hound dog...Domesticated Cats.

Bruce great job using LinkedIn to go after those you think can help expand your business. Probably part of the reason you have the #4 Lenny’s Sub Shop in the country is that though you make sub sandwhiches, really good one might I add, you understand that you are in the “meeting people to drive catering” business.

Brad “You aint nothin’ but a Hound Dog”.

John its been a while since we chatted. I was just getting started on LinkedIn at the time. You can tell people how little I really knew back then.

Mark it is time consuming until it starts generating business. Then its addictive.

Larry less than or more than doesn’t matter. It’s your strategy to do as you please. Might I suggested connecting to your local tire person to help you with your next selection.

Charity you can call me Mark since you read the article and commented. I’m easy. As far as initiating connections Alley Cats an Hound dogs are pretty much the same. Its in the accepting of invitations that they differ.

Tim changing to an Alley Cat will grow your network, but I think the real key is to define what you want from LinkedIn. Once you know this you know what activities you should be doing...answering questions, posting news articles, starting discussions, etc. Seek out every opportunity to share and provide value. People will start to know, like, and trust you over time.

Thanks to all who read and all who commented.



I started as a hound dog as I imagine most people do when trying to network. However, after attending several networking meetings and several months looking for other opportunities, it's time to make a change. When you do the same thing over and over again, you get the same results. It's time to try something else...Alley Cat

Charity Newsome


I have always been an Alley Cat. Accepting inviations from people that find your offerings valuable can create all kinds of unknown opportunities. I have connected with a few people that way but usually I only request connections to people I know well.

I think Alley Cats are a more passive connecting animal. Hound Dogs are looking to promote and must be more aggressive. While not all dogs and cats are good friends, on Linkedin they are natural partners.

Interesting post. I look forward to reading more from you.

Larry Logan

Sean, less than an alley cat I'm afraid. Social media is a lot like buying tires. Useful, looks mostly the same, but comes in different sizes and shapes for different vehicles. I suggest a mid-range with raised white lettering. Rotate often and in this case do not buy the hazzard protection.

Mark Fryer


I am a hound dog. But may be moving to becoming an alley cat. This is exciting but very time consuming. But I believe it will add dividends in the long run.


John Knight


I knew from the beginning that you would do things with Linked In that would amaze the rest of us. This article was great, in that it helped me understand more about my behavior and the behavior of others. A great summation. Please let me know, if I can ever be a resource for you.

John Knight

Brad Weaver

I'm a hound dog.

Bruce Longmore

Bruce Longmore at Lenny's Sub Shop Cumming, Alpharetta, GA is an Alley Cat. I target specific people, positions and companies where I think Lenny's can expand our catering business but am glad to accept an invitation from most anyone.

Sid Plait

I'm somewhere between a hound dog and an alley cat. I think you've summed it up well!

Sean Nelson

The competition is coming to a close. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work, but worth it. The only regrets I have is between the time spent responding and promoting, and actually doing work that pays, I didn’t have enough time to read through all of the other posts. Starting Sunday I can actually take time to check out some of the great thoughts and ideas presented over the last 11 days.

Thanks to everyone that has commented. This is likely the second to last official comment round up.

Rachel I think the term we could apply here is “Domesticated Alley Cat” while on the other hand am a “Wild Alley Cat”. I think.

Chad thanks for the comments. The spammer are already here and it will be up to each person to do what they can to minimize it. I gues I’m a quantity guy to find quality.

Bill thanks for the comment. Do I owe you a beer? Next LinkUp at Copeland’s remind me that the first rounds on me.

Sue thanks for the comments. How people connect should be a reflection of how they plan to use LinkedIn. Often, though, people adapt a connection style without purpose. Any of the four I defined will work if matched with the correct overall strategy.

Thanks Christina.

Bill I agree that the same rules that apply in offline networking apply online. LinkedIn just gives you an opportunity to cross paths with more people. Sort of like a politician shaking hands.

Rachel you are an Alley Cat. Your approach is the same that I take.

Jeff welcome to the Alley Cat team. Great point on knowing why someone wants to connect. Not stating a purpose misses an opportunity to let others know how they can help you.

Terry thanks for the comments. Let’s chat about those social media strategies. PS...checks in the mail.

Thomas a dog that meow’s. I can go along with that.

Felix its those unexpected opportunities that make open networking fun for me. When I receive an inbound call or inquiry its usually from someone who I have not spoken with but that has read my blog and viewed my profile.

Susan thanks for the comments. The blog started as a way to share what I was learning with my direct connections. Connecting to more people just expands that opportunity.

Steve staying on target is an important part of the puzzle. Beyond the connecting, its also about using the tools in a way that supports that strategy.

Dan I don’t know about the “Rock Star” designation, maybe just a Roadie. I started learning LinkedIn and Social Media to drive new business so I still consider myself a small business person utilizing the tools....thanks for the confidence though.

Johnel go to the Social Media Sonar blog and you will be curled up in a ball after a few posts. I am single handedly destroying the reputation of the apostrophe. Fortunately enough readers correct me so eventually I should get to a point where I’m usin’ them correctly ;)

Tim having built up significant networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and my blog definitely helped drive traffic. What also helped was that in writing the blog I’ve connected to many others who do the same, and have built up followers. Finally understanding how to use the tools to communicate to the different communities was valuable.

Tapping into all of these to some extent helped generate interest. As far as upgrading to a paid account on LinkedIn I would not say its necesary, but might be useful. I have a free account, though I would like to upgrade for a couple of reasons:

Top ranking in searches relative to users with free accounts.
The new ability to tag connections
More search results viewable
I think LinkedIn is moving towards providing value to upgraded users, finally focussed on developing services that make a difference. Not many yet but I expect that to change over the next year.

I’ve resisted changing because 99% of my blog readers have free accounts and I want to write about the version of LinkedIn they are using.

I’m looking forward to having a chance over the next week to read through all of your posts, as well as many of the others.

Thanks once again everyone for the comments.



I was seriously scared of LinkedIn forever lol. I got messages to join years back and never did. BTW. I still have yet to join facebook (aka. poke-a-face). I joined LinkedIn about 4 months ago when I read some articles on social networking. I feel you have a strong arm on the competition in this contest for the simple fact that social networking being the "buzz phrase". Great job with your captive audience and also your blog post, it outlines who the linkedin users are and why. Now let me ask you this...Should members purchase the upgrade? And if so WHY and What benefits do WE get out of the upgraded membership ?


Informative post, Sean. Great work on the breakdown - and helping explain the rationale for each. The former editor and copywriter in me can't ignore the butching of the apostrophe conventions in the post. Just sayin'.


Sean is a rock star in social media. If he tells you to jump off a diving board backwards with your eye's closed and he tells you it is safe to jump: jump! (Dan)

Steve Meyer

Great article Sean, as usual. I started off as you did as a hound dog and have morphed into an allet cat. Every once in a while though I get the urge to be a LION, and then I remember my primary purpose and stay on target.

Susan Smith

Great thoughts, Sean. Linkedin is a great tool used well and I appreciate your counsel on the topic. Even more, I appreciate your willingness to help the novices out here!


My approach is the "Alley Cat", you just don't know when you will meet someone that can help you make the next connection.

Great article!


Thomas Rector

Good post, Sean. Love the metaphor. I am a Hounddog, with a dash of Lion mixed in. Hounddog is the dominant gene.

Terry Kime


Being connected to you and also knowing you I have enjoyed our discussions regarding Social Media. This article is timely as I make some changes to using social media to connect and grow my business.

I would put myself in the Hound Dog class.


Jeff Wolfe

Hello Sean,

I enjoyed your post! At one time I considered myself to be more of a "Hound Dog", but have shifted during the past year or so over to the "Alley Cat." It's always important for me to know why someone would like to connect, so that I can have a sense as to how I may assist, or how we may collaborate.

Thanks again for another valuable post!

Jeff Wolfe

Rachel Wills

I'm still tweaking my actual strategy for LinkedIn. I am on several open networking groups, and will accept any invitation. But I don't usually send invitations unless I at least know of the person, or they are a connection I think would be beneficial to have. I may go looking for a connection in a specific company or industry, and try to find a common ground to use to send an invitation.

Bill King


I definately would describe my LinkedIn partcipation as that of an Alley Cat. I try to use LinkedIn not much differrenly than how I would normally conduct myself in a face-to-face or group networking effort.I think the same ingredients here are essential to make this work for you; respect of the referral partner, interest and willingness to help them in return, and an obligation to treat their referrals with professionalism and fairness. Thanks for all your sharing as an expert on this medium.

Christina Ahumada

Fantastic post, Sean. I believe I am a hound dog.

Sue Atkins

People need to Know You or at a Minimum Know Of You: Often connecting or engaging in conversations will accomplish this.
Hello Sean

I've been a member of LinkedIn for awhile but I have never really had a "strategy" before reading your interesting and thought provoking blog which I really enjoyed.

Wherever I network - either online or off I really believe in being concerned about building real relationships over time.

The secret for me is the slower "casserole cooking" approach - taking time to have enriching associations as you wrote people get to know and like you first, see your integrity just like in real life !

It builds trust and longer term opportunities.

I feel the same about Twitter which has been enormously successful for me ..... but over time.

It's a busy, hectic world but some things are better treasured and savoured and like a good glass of port - relationships online are like that too !

Sue Atkins
"Author of Raising Happy Children for Dummies"

Bill Bingham


As always, your vantage point and insight are spot on! I hope to make the time to implement your advice and track its course.


Chad Rothschild


Thanks for the shout out. I truly believe you have to add value to people before you ask your network for anything. Give to gain theory.

I always use a bank, if you walked into a bank and you were not a customer and asked to withdraw money but never had made a deposit... they will think you are trying to rob them.

I am the hybrid for sure. Quantity is not as important as quality. I want to connect with people who genuinely want to hear what I have to say. I would rather have 100 raving fans than 1000 luke warm connections.

I like for people to put "because" in why they want to connect with me. I hate those who do not declare the "why".

The reason as everything pure in life, I am always waiting and looking for the spammer or the person trying to take advantage of the situation.

Great post. Thanks for sharing the thoughts and insights.

Chad Rothschild

Rachel Franco

Very interesting post, Sean. I think, based on your definitions, I would consider myself an Alley Cat, but perhaps with a slight tweak. Like you, I "send invitations to people I know or people that I have a specific reason for connecting to." I obviously accept invitations from people that I know. For those that I do not know, however, I have to see some relevance in our connection...either based on their industry, position, network or something else, it has to make sense to connect for both of us. Hope that doesn't sound harsh or shallow, but it's my strategy...for now.

Sean Nelson

Time for another comment round up. I was gone all day and just getting an opportunity to respond to the comments.

MJ Doc thanks for the comments. I agree that as things change so do our goals and strategies need to change.

Curtis simply think about what it is that you want out of LinkedIn and that will help shape your strategy. If you expect to use LinkedIn to further cultivate those close relationships that you have then Turtle is the way to go. If you want LinkedIn to identify new unexpected opportunities then you’re likely looking towards one of the three other strategies.

James you are a Turtle with a purpose.

Keith find ways to share value and interact and you’ll start getting connection requests. And LinkedIn is a great place to enhance those offline connections.

Randy the two strategies are fairly close and its easy to move between the two.

Mark great summation. Those unexpected opportunities to learn or profit are very nice.

Laurie I think the tagging feature is available to those who have a paid account. I’ve thought about upgrading simply for that but since my blog is read by the majority of people using free accounts I have resisted upgrading. This way I write about what’s relevant to them.

Jinaki I’ll take you at your word for the cute part.

Dick naming it just put a face on it. Happy connecting.

Stephen most of the people I know that openly connect do so for the opportunityies and not the numbers. Which connection strategy you use is simply based on your overall strategy. Its a reflection of that not what defines your strategy.

Deanna I think Alley Cats growl more than they meow.

Thomas I agree with you 100%.

Priti I think most people already have in mind how they connect. I simply put a name to the different ways.

Dawn maybe we should petition LinkedIn to add icons to each profile designation which people are. Would make connecting easier.

Barry you are definitely an Alley Cat.

Shelly you can’t argue with the quality over quantity argument, but In the quantity I have found quality that would have gone unnoticed. Think it through and do what works for you.

Greg Merry Christmas to you and good luck in finding your next opportunity. Providing value first is the key to working through the know, like, and trust process.

Linda keep up the activity and a year from now you’ll be suprised at the size and value of your network.

Jim Rock on. LinkedIn can be a great ice breaker.

Jim Durand

Thanks for the invitation to read your article and blog. Insightful indeed, as I've never thought about it all as deeply as you have delved. I am moving from a turtle to an alley cat, as I am opening up more in my business and personality.
As a musician, there are many of us who are shy, but are expected to be personally outgoing in a performance setting. This is always a balancing act, and the internet helps in this area with cultivating relationships and client contacts.
Jim Durand

Linda Bryan

Hi Sean,
Great article! Although my foray into social media has been limited up till now, I would say that this helps see the options that I've unknowingly been considering. I would say that Alley Cat will be my method. Thanks for the definitions and course of action layouts!

Greg Harper

Sean: I consider myself a Hound Dog, and agree with a couple of other posts about the importance of "paying it forward." As a sales professional in job transition, I continue to seek opportunities to serve others with joy- and not just focus on what others can do to help me. Please continue the great work. Thanks for all you do for the Linkedin community here in metro Atlanta. Merry Christmas, Greg


Right now, I believe I am a HoundDog. Many of my connections on Linkedin are with people I have known and trusted for years. I’m in the process of connecting with those I would like to know. Some in the field of Social Media. I’m trying to surround myself with liked-minded people, in person and online. Quality over quantity.

I understand your strategy of being an Alley Cat. I definitely share the same value system. I am passionate about helping others be successful.

Sean, I’m going to give it some thought on being an Alley Cat.
Growlllll. Great article!!


I'm an Ally Cat. I'm open to any person to LinkIn but I connect with people I know or know of. I also connect with people that are involved with services that I or friend need or are interested in.


Dawn Gartin

Really good stuff. And helps me understand not only myself, more the Hound Dog, these days, but also others I connect to.

Sean Nelson

Thanks for the comments everyone. work has me a little behind but here is the latest comments round up.

Jennie thanks for the comment.

Melanie bloggers drool when we see a long comment. Those I don’t Knows will get you and often they occur because the person really may not know you and do not understand there effect. I agree its tough in some industries due to the lack of participation. good to see some projects have developed. also great job utilizing applications.

Welcome to the Alley Cat team Wayne.

Kelly Ann like you stated the number is irrelevent. It’s the extending of your reach and opening of new unexpected opportunities that counts.

Kimba glad to see you’re starting to make LinkedIn work for you. Dogs are pretty loyal so youshould be OK.

Layne thanks for the comments.

Chase those unexpected opportunities are a beautiful thing. Get famous.

Mary Ann that would be unreal. The first time I see the types referenced in someone else’s post will be pretty cool.

Steve “sing it”.

Tedra ponder a little then take action.

Tim glad the info helped.

Kris thanks. Helping others it what makes it work. Takes patience but over time that patience will be rewarded.

Keith if you ever find yourself looking for a new opportunity isn’t it great that your networks already established. I dislike the lazy connection requests as well but just assume the person hasn’t thought it through. In my early days I was guilty of doing the same. With time comes wisdom.

Dave great to see you back. Thanks for being a long time reader.

Barbara its good to re-read post and to read various sources. There are some great resources out there writing about LinkedIn including Neal Shaeffer, Nate Kievman, Jason Alba, Viveka Von Rosen, Randy Shrum, Scott Allen, Chad Rothschild to name a few. Apologies to those I failed to name and to those who in my haste I misspelled your name.

Stephen its amazing that over time your strategy morphs based on your needs. Mine has changed several times.

Bill I’m not a Cat person in real life but on LinkedIn I go with it.

Lauren if you bounce between a LION and a HoundDog then you are an Alley Cat.

Dela that knowledge has built over time. At one point I had less than 20 connections and less than a clue what to do. The key is to keep learning.

Mark nothing wrong with being a HoundDog...or any of the other strategies. Its simply which supports your goals.

Eric welcome to the Alley Cat team.

That’s it for now. I need some time to filter through the MJ Doc Dougherty’s comment. I’m off to a client training session for the day.

Everyone thanks for the comments and have a great day.



Hi Sean,

This is laid out very well explaining the Strategy. Forcing you to think through yoru strategy, no doubt most of them will coin the Alley Cat one!

Thomas Valentine

Alley Cat and have always been a proponent of pay it forward. Enjoy meeting new people and listening & learning their story. It has and continues to make for an enjoyable life's journey.

LinkedIn is a valued tool which broadens and compliments the scope of networking and re-connecting.


Meow. That means thank you in cat-speak.

Steve Hopper

The better question is, what do you use LinkedIn for? The answer to that defines which critter you are, although this LION/Turtle/HoundDog/Alley Cat compartmentalization could be a symptom of OCD, IMHO. The way I see it, LinkedIn simply makes the world a smaller place, because it connects people. It's good to be connected!

There are now over 50 million people on LinkedIn, and I read recently that one new person is registering about every second. These connections are valuable. In fact, if you pay LinkedIn enough, they will let you have access to all of them. So why not be connected to all of them for free by welcoming all invites?

So I guess I qualify as a LION, but I dismiss the ego-gratification notion. The simple fact is, the more connections I have, the fewer degrees removed I am from anyone else on LinkedIn, and thus anyone else on the planet. I personally find value in that.

BTW, if you share my abundance mentality when it comes to LinkedIn, please send me an invite. My profile is at http://www.linkedin.com/stevehopper. If you don't share my philosophy, that's OK -- I just hope we can find each other some other way if we ever need to. Cheers, and happy networking!

Stephen T. Hopper, PE
Inviscid Consulting, LLC
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/stevehopper

Dick Yegan

You provided a great explanation. I thought of myself as a Hound Dog until you invented the Alley Cat version. Now, I am behaving more like an Alley Cat.

Jinaki Flint

AlleyCat (but a cute one) for sure! :)


I'm a mutating Hound Dog moving toward Alley Cat. With people I don't know who request connection, I look for some context and personalization around the requested connection. I don't turn away but establish context at the outset.

Also - there is a new feature in Linkedin allowing you to add tags to your connections. I am on the beta stream for this feature (for five months or so) ... I notice that others still do not have this feature.


Mark McKenzie


This was a great piece and should help with my LI strategies.

You summed it up best when you wrote “There is value in knowing your connections but there are also unexpected opportunities that develop from establishing new connections, known and unknown”.

I always expect the unexpected and the wealth, knowledge and benefits are out there in the unknown. The Alley Cat in me says realize the value, connect and grow.


I must be a CatDog. Have been acting like the Hound Dog in the past. Now I am leaning more toward an Alley Cat.


Keith Dukes


I'm a HoundDog....I get few to none random connection requests, so I can't be an AlleyCat.

The ironic side of this networking discussion is that I've did/have done a poor job of personal networking over my career. I've learned through LI how building and maintaining connections is sooo important - I've now extended the LI concept into building my face-to-face network.


I think I am a turtle.

Curtis Howard

Sean, I am still waffleling between the alley cat and the turtle. I did enjoy reading your analogy. Great job putting all this in perspective!

M. J. Doc Dougherty

Sean, Attitude is trumped only by behavior. As some others have noted it seems reasonable that most of us move through and also cycle back into prior incarnations. So please keep your insights and characterization coming.
Any workable and viable network (or characteristic style) is reflective of how much you as a active participant are committed to contribute and the manner in which you demonstrate this by your style and form of communication.It is very plausaable that this will not be a infinetely projectable plane extending out into the unending future.
Good and reasonable behavior would require / suggest that we all fully disclose our intentions and alert those we have most honestly and intimately engaged when the plane starts to alter.
Further I beleive it its reasonable and also healthy to intially and periodically there after to disclose your internal compass and needs.
In updating your network as the demands of your business life, in the case of LinkedIn and the other online networks, blogging hubs or other pursuits serve and service "the rest of your life" as the forces that shape your life changes and is reflected in you ability and willingness to contribute at least as much as you expect seems the only sustainable way of supporting an overall healthy ecosystem.
Most importatl;y and as mentioned earlier if you are biased on the side of Pay it Forward you will support the enviroment and always be welcome back at the camp fire.

Eric John


Definitely I am an alley cat.


Mark C

I would say I am a Hound Dog. I usually accept all invites but have refused a couple. I do target people from within my current connection contacts (those with whom I see where I would either be a benefit or gain a benefit of connecting with). Good luck and keep connecting.


Wow Sean, You have an entire language built around linked in. Wish I had a 10th of the knowledge that you do on this!

Lauren Hill

Very informative article. I think I oscillate between the LION and Hound Dog personas. I am an Open Networker but I seek to connect with individuals in which I share something in common and/or have interests in similar professions or fields.

Bill Jeu de Vine


Insightful as usual and I enjoyed reading your perspective. Although I've never been a "cat person" I just discovered that I am an Alley Cat -- I started as a Hound Dog, but have gravitated to the Cat side.

stephen gilkenson

I was an early adopter of LinkedIn and over the years I have migrated between strategies. At first I was a Lion, the I became more of a Hound Dog now I am more of an Ally Cat with some latent Lion tendencies. I manage a couple of groups and when it comes to members of my groups, I will connect to anyone that invites me...in reality I will connect to anyone that invites me, but I will likewise drop connections if they don't follow a few simple rules. When someone asks for help making a connection, I expect them to give me a compelling reason that the recipient would want to connect. I also very rarely pass along requests to or from people that aren't direct connections.

I am a firm believer in paying it forward.

Barbara Van Baush


It looks as if I am more of an ally cat than any of the others. I tend to connect with those I know and with those who I can possibly help now or in the future. Since I am fairly new, I have not really received any invitations, or maybe I need to read The 7 Worst LinkedIn Mistakes... again.

dave coulter

As always a great article; very informative and helped me to look at Linked-in in a different light.
Thanks for all that you do.
Dave Coulter

Keith Warrick


This is great and now I have a clear definition of the Alley Cat networking strategy.

I started out as a Turtle while new at LinkedIn only because it was unchartered territory and I literally accepted LinkedIn's exhortation of connecting only to people that I knew and trust. Then when I lost my job I had to overhaul that approach and find one that would propel my search forward so I moved to the Hound Dog status and have remained there since returning back to work.

I think of that sometimes as being somewhat of a LION by accepting some invites from people that I don't know but it's only after I have reviewed their profile and see what value/benefit that they can bring to my network so that I can help others. If there is no value there, then I pass on accepting the invite.

I also dislike receiving the "lazy networker" boilerplate script from LI that many of them use which usually means that I will not accept their invitation as well.

As always, you provide great information on LinkedIn and I quote you regularly in my LinkedIn presentations that I do.

Kris Cavanaugh

Hi Sean!

The Ally Cat sounds like me. I do what I can to help people in my network, connect to people that are aligned with what I do, and welcome new connections along the way as they appear.

Great overview of the types of LinkedIn connectors! Thanks for sharing!

~ Kris Cavanaugh

Tim Gaffney

Good Stuff!
You have been very helpful.


Something to ponder...


I ain't nothing but a Hound Dog!

Steve Fix

Mary Ann Galvin

Let's see if these definitions make it to Webster's!

Christopher "Chase" Carey

Definitely I am a LION. Clients and good connections come from both the places I expect them but just as much from the places I don't expect them and many in between. In my business there are a good number of not-to-competent competitors so I figure the more people that know me the better my chance are.

Layne Davlin


Very good article. Nice to see some different views.

I enjoyed reading it.

Kimba Green

Thank you for sharing your use of Linkedin. In the last few months I have become more of a true user of Linkedin. Now I will just need to morph into a cat. Hope my dogs still like me!

Kelly Ann


What a great article! Before reading this, I only knew about LIONs...

I just wanted to say that while I consider myself a LION (I have over 1,000 connections that I've made through open networking), I'm a bit of an Alley Cat too. But overall, my main focuses are on networking and helping others when I can. I'm not really all that concerned the actual number of connections (e.g. some people say "I want to have over 10,000 connections"). My connections have evolved over time (just like my Twitter followers) because I think that it's important to "connect, engage, and make friends" as I say in my Twitter bio. I love the opportunities to "pay it forward" because so many people have helped me.

All the best to everyone,
Kelly Ann

Wayne Kurzen

Great article -- good post. I am an Alley Cat!

Melanie Morris

Sean - as always this is a very helpful post.

I've primarily been using LinkedIn as a career transition tool. A big focus has been building my network of connections. I will always accept an invitation to connect, but have gotten a lot more careful about sending out invitations because I still encounter so many people that aren't comfortable with LinkedIn and have gotten a couple of "I don't know's".

I've come from an industry (radio sales) that has very little LI participation and have moved into another field (hospice marketing) that also has very little LI participation. This makes it tough to connect to many people in my field of work and there's also limited activity on discussion boards in these 2 areas.

However, I try to implement the suggestions I read about how to effectively use this medium and have experienced some unexpected bonuses.

For example, I've done some contract work in lead generation and appointment setting and by changing my headline from a title to a stated benefit, I've gotten some RFP's from people that sought me out.

Also, in posting an Answer, I got the unexpected surprise of Best Answer the very first time I did it. It's a nice little addition to my profile and something I haven't been able to repeat.

Finally, I get a lot of feedback that people notice how active I am in LinkedIn because of the updates they receive. I use several applications: events, Wordpress blog, polls, book reviews, and all of this activity keeps my name top of mind among my network. It seems to be a positive.

Your blog is very much appreciated!

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