Been a while since I did one of these, but it seems that after the funding, some good press, reports from LinkedIn of a successful 2006, and a major new feature release, lots of people are talking about LinkedIn. Here are a few of the more interesting recent bits I’ve found:
A couple of days ago, an architect that I highly respect said something intriguing about me and my vast network on LinkedIn and how it may be detrimental.
This begs the question of whether social networking is good or bad in an enterprise setting. Is it better for enterprises to figure out how to get access to the best information even when it disrupts the dynamics of how folks collaborate internally or should internal collaboration be the most important attribute even at the expense of the enterprise learning better ways of doing things that could increase speed to market, reduce expense or improve quality?
Maybe one of the reasons you don’t really see a lot of enterprisey folks in the blogosphere is not due to stuffy media relations policies that discourage folks from talking about anything but because of its disruptive effect on internal conversations. Consider what should a boss do when one of his employees outshines another by doing homework and becoming smarter than those who don’t participate in social networking? Should the boss figure out a way to get them promoted or figure out a way to politely encourage them to slow down so as to not make others feel bad?
I’m embarassed to admit that I had to re-read this post three times before I completely convinced myself James is being facetious. I was really intrigued, though, by the idea that a lot of easy external conversations might have a detrimental impact on internal conversations. In the end, though, I think James’ “adapt or perish” attitude may not really be that far from the truth.
I’ve touted the benefits of using the online world for professional connections since I became a recruiter. I’ve told nearly all the people I’ve met that Linked In is a terrific way to research, network, and stay connected to professional contacts all over the world and across all industries.
Couple more quick tips for using Linked In:
-put yourself out there; you never know until you ask
-offer something before you ask for something (coffee, lunch, a helpful article…)
-keep consistent contact with your network, find out how things are going with them
-research, spend the necessary time to get information, and develop good content (like on your LinkedIn profile)
It’s good to hear people reinforcing the idea of spending time getting to know and keeping up with your connections. Remember, LinkedIn is the map, it’s not the relationship.
You’ll want to listen to the audio too, but here’s a summary:
+ LinkedIn is a nice way to get in general contact with people
+ Search gives you the ability to locate movers and shakers
+ The best time to look for a job is when you don’t need one
+ How do you grow your LinkedIn network?
+ DO attend networking events with directories of participants that include email addresses and add them to your LinkedIn account as a text file
+ DO brand your invitation
+ DO join and participate in online communities with email addresses
+ DO NOT send spam
+ DO NOT solicit recommendations from people who haven’t worked with you in some way
+ DO NOT pay for it if you don’t have to
+ DO publish a chicklet or link on your blog or podcast site
+ DO send invitations to link up
+ DO solicit recommendations from customers including audience attendees
+ DO update your profile
+ DO use other networks you belong on to populate your LinkedIn
The brief confessions and adventures of a late adopter:
I’ve had this argument with people before who’ve tried to tell me that I must not really care about my relationships if I let them slide over the years. Come on! The vast majority of people tend to be really bad about keeping in touch with former classmates and colleagues, even ones they were close with at one point in time. LinkedIn seems to be the best place to do that with former co-workers and business associates, and a reasonably good option for schoolmates as well.
Roger joined LinkedIn last week and shares his tips for growing your network quickly:
This tool is very powerful if you invest a little time into it, and I would imagine it has massive potential to help you in your career or business. Having a vast network of contacts never hurts regardless of how successful you are at this moment.
I only wish I had discovered this tool when I was in sales. Oh well, better late than never right?
I give Roger’s recommendations an A-. My only issue here is that his #1 recommendation, to connect with some of the super-connectors, certainly wouldn’t be my first recommendation to new members. Doing that does increase your “reach”, but comes with its own set of consequences. I’d only recommend that strategy once someone really gets to understand LinkedIn and makes an informed decision that that’s the approach they want to take.
The absolutely first thing you need to do when you join LinkedIn is this (and not on his list): upload your contacts from Outlook (I highly recommend their Outlook toolbar, but it’s not required in order to do this) or whatever contact manager or e-mail client you use. Once you’ve done this, LinkedIn can show you which of those people are already on LinkedIn. Go through and select the ones you know well enough to connect with and send them invitations. The ones who are already in LinkedIn are the mostly likely to be willing to connect since they’re already familiar with the site. For the typical professional, this will get you 100+ LinkedIn connections right off the bat.