How to Backup Your LinkedIn Connections

by Lori Ruff on January 21, 2013 · 5 comments

in Durable,LinkedIn,Networking

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My friends and fans know that I like to use questions from connections and followers to fuel my blog posts. I believe that if one person asks the questions, there are a lot more who wonder the same thing. This week is no different. In fact I receive this question on a pretty consistent basis, almost monthly in fact, as LinkedIn makes changes not only to the look and feel of their platform, but also in the functionality. The functionality means that people with networks larger than 10,000 (the official number, but I have clients who have 8.500 and are having the same problems) have technical issues with requests timing out.

One of those features that time out is when trying to load your connections, remove connections, and exporting–or backing up–your connections. Other features include InBoxes that won’t load properly or searches that don’t run. But this post is about backing up connections.

For example, my connection Ralf recently sent this question:

Hi Lori,
error message when trying to load connections
As one of the most respected authorities on LI I wanted to get your opinion of the inability for us to backup our connections.

LI Support say they are working on it, but considering the other major changes they have recently made, this does not appear to be a priority.

What are your thoughts?



Here’s how I responded…

Hey Ralf,

If you have over 12,000 connections on LinkedIn, I’d keep trying during lower use times… perhaps 9 pm your local time, because fewer people will be pinging the server and it might respond before it times out. I was able to back up last November, but it took days of intermittently trying.

I know that’s not much help, but give it a try and stick to it.Hope that helps!

If you’d like to add your thoughts (this post is NOT about the number of connections, but the lowering of timeout settings by LinkedIn) please share your thoughts in the comments. I’ll direct Ralf to this post to see your answers as well.

So, for those who don’t know, here’s how to export, and therefor backup, your LinkedIn Connections. These are the steps (keep in mind it only exports, name, title, company and email address):

  1. From any page on LinkedIn, hover your mouse over “Contacts” then click on “Connections“. (The image right shows the link.) Export your LinkedIn Connections
  2. A new page will open that asks how you would like to save your export. There are really only three types: .csv or a comma separated value file, and a .vcf or v-card file for Mac or PC.
  3. Then Click “Export“.
  4. Choose to open or save the file – I like to save to avoid opening programs.
  5. If it works, yeah; if no… well, read the above answer to Ralf. Just keep trying during periods where internet/LinkedIn usage in your area is likely to be lighter.

And a few notes about etiquette:

  1. Your LinkedIn connections did not connect to you to join your newsletter list or receive pitches. It’s ok to send a message intended to ask prospects to raise their hand to indicate interest in or to respond with a referral for your business. However, sending weekly messages through LinkedIn or importing your connections list to your email list isn’t considered appropriate. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a networking  first and foremost.
  2. Don’t sell or share your connections list with anyone else. It’s not only dishonest, it’s a violation of the Terms of Service of LinkedIn. Ok, they’d have to know about it, but people do complain so use care.
Author: Lori Ruff (177 Posts)

Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, is a speaker, consultant, author and radio host in the LinkedIn and social media world. One of LinkedIn's Most Connected Women, she has influenced tens of thousands of people during her 15+ year speaking and training career. Twice named Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, wouldn't you like to meet The Diva too?

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