This is my contribution to this month's Career Collective offering. Career Collective is a community of bloggers that gather together each month to share thoughts on a common topic. Up this month: Strategies and best practices for networking.Networking

Last week, I wrote about visiting my twin nieces at a summer camp which teaches leadership skills. They had a great experience. Now that they are home, they are setting goals of their own. And one of them--perhaps the most widely publicized one--is to see who can have the most friends on Facebook. At last count, they are in the 700's.

How many friends can you have? And how many is too many? Is it better to have the widest network possible? Or a small circle of trusted allies?

Several years ago, a friend shared with me an anecdote that has shaped my opinion on the dilemma ever since. My friend was the golf coach at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the friends he made during his time there was the late Walter Annenberg, former Ambassador, media mogul and founder of TV Guide.

During a round of golf, my friend was discussing his fundraising strategy with Mr. Annenberg. "It's not what you know, it's who you know, right?"

Mr. Annenberg shook his head; "No. It's who knows you back that counts."

Who knows you back? Who are the people that will return your calls, vouch for you, and help you out in a pinch? This, to me, is the essence of what a good network is--and the reason why I don't accept all friend and connection requests on LinkedIn or Facebook. I know the people I will know back. You?

Here are the other posts from Career Collective, read 'em and reap the benefits of their expertise.

  • 5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa
  • Networking: Easy as 1, 2 , 3, @WorkWithIllness
  • How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell
  • Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal
  • A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni
  • Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which 'Vert' You Are, @erinkennedycprw
  • Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman
  • Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice
  • Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
  • 3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers
  • Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords
  • Networking: It's a Way of Life, @WalterAkana
  • Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward
  • Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg