A MySpace for Grown-Ups

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business2_logo.gifThere was a great write-up of LinkedIn in Business 2.0/CNN this week:

A MySpace for grown-ups

It reiterated the theme of just how essential a business tool LinkedIn is becoming (see LinkedIn or Locked Out):

“For many, it’s become irresponsible to not invite business associates into your LinkedIn network,” says Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who specializes in sociology and strategy. “When that kind of cultural inflection point occurs, which is what LinkedIn is going through now, that is when things really begin to take off.”

What fascinates me, though, is how some people can find it SO essential, yet others with similar levels of seniority, fame, and technical savvy, are opting out entirely. All in all, though, while I find it both unsettling and a little mystifying that some high-profile feel so negatively about it, the numbers tell the story.

There’s also some good commentary over at IP Democracy from Cynthia Brumfeld, who asks, Has LinkedIn Reached a Tipping Point?

Like most people in the communications and tech sector, I joined business networking service LinkedIn a few years back, thinking it was possibly cool. But, after a few half-hearted attempts to beef up my connections, I forgot about the service, with the exception of another half-hearted attempt about a year ago (spurred by an email I received from LinkedIn) to once again make more connections.

But lately I’ve been getting more and more requests for connections and LinkedIn now seems, somehow, more alive than it has been. As it turns out, LinkedIn is gaining steam and may in fact be at a tipping point…

Another topic in the article that I found interesting was the explicit statement of the expectation that people would use LinkedIn to “connect up”. I’ve always known that LinkedIn’s strategy was focused on attracting and keeping the A-listers, but I’d never heard them specifically talk about this strategy:

Anyone can join, but to make someone else a part of your network, you have to invite them and they have to accept. And whom would you rather invite to your network, someone who ranks below you in the work world or above?

“You are more likely to invite up than down for your own network,” says Guericke, LinkedIn’s marketing VP. “That’s only natural, but what that does is keep the quality high on LinkedIn. We wanted it to be a place where people you think highly of can be found. It might not be Steve Jobs, but it will be other senior people at Apple who you might want to know.”\

I’m not surprised – I’d just never heard them come right out with it. This is a very effective strategy that we talk about in Chapter 19 of The Virtual Handshake, including some practical tips on how to connect up virtually.

There’s more good information in the article, including a look at how and why the benefits of LinkedIn are increasing, the wide variety of ways in which people are using it, and a look into the future of LinkedIn.

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