LinkedIn Connections 6-20-2007

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560026_links.gifIt seems LinkedIn is a really hot topic in the blogosphere at the moment. Here’s my irregular roundup of some of my favorite recent posts:

20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively

Web Worker Daily has compiled a list of 20 ways to use LinkedIn:

  1. Increase freelance work.
  2. Find your dream job.
  3. Boost your business.
  4. Improve your Google results.
  5. Check references for potential hires.
  6. Get advice.
  7. Easy resume.
  8. Do research.
  9. Jazz up your profile.
  10. Get connections.
  11. Prep for an interview.
  12. Batch process messages.
  13. Increase your cred.
  14. Brand yourself.
  15. Find people.
  16. Help others.
  17. Get to know a company.
  18. Throw out a net when you don’t need it.
  19. Get publicity.
  20. Market research.

I’ve added it to the Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn page.

Which New Media Tools are Worth Your Time?

Andrea Morris certainly thinks LinkedIn is one of them:

This is the one site that I can absolutely say did make me money this year.

Finally, the way I made money – when I left corporate and started my own business I updated my LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn automatically sent an e-mail to all of my professional contacts letting them know that I had changed my profile and was now self-employed. Within 24 hours I received 15 phone calls, set 8 appointments and landed my first 3 clients. Granted, this is a one time event – but again – it’s the kinetic energy

I especially liked this observation Andrea made:

The main complaint I hear about Linked In is how it doesn’t DO anything. People say they have a profile and contacts just sit there. Well, it’s kind of like potential vs. kinetic energy. Linked In is a database of your networking contacts and their history. I use LinkedIn as a followup to networking events. Instead of sending an e-mail I send a LinkedIn invitation. It’s all about building the database (potential energy) and using it strategically (kinetic energy).

Making Real-life Networking Work in an Online World

Stewart Rogers explains how to use LinkedIn in conjunction with PairUp to connect face-to-face with people in your network while you’re traveling.

Now, whenever you add a journey into PairUp, you can let all your LinkedIn contacts know about it and if they’re in the same place at the same time they can organise to meet you for a coffee. If you happen to be on the same flight, PairUp has options to help you sit together on the plane. Ahhhhh, how nice.

For more ideas on using LinkedIn to connect with people when traveling, check out Using LinkedIn to Fill Out Your Business Trip and Using LinkedIn for Travel.

LinkedIn and Distributed Economies

Bryan Menell explains:

The new laws of Web 2.0 economics say that if you can massively distribute microchunked things, you should see increasing levels of returns. It’s all about networking peers together. A good Web 2.0 platform will mediate the connections between peers, and add value to it (hopefully without adding friction too).

The new LinkedIn Answers is a good example of this. All the questions and answers are like this microchunked knowledge base, and because you can only see questions on your home page from people 1 or 2 degrees away they are mediating this connection between LinkedIn users. LinkedIn Answers is a great example of Distributed Economies.

Anti-Social Networking

Writing for CIO.com, Esther Schindler sees the need for a feature I’ve been asking LinkedIn about for as long as I’ve been a member:

[T]here’s nothing to show a degree of intimacy. I might link to someone whom I interviewed once, because I figure it’s nice to keep in touch with an expert on, say, software testing. I would also create links to coworkers past and present, the people whom I’ve known and worked with for 15 years. And that doesn’t count the people who believe they’re my best buddy because they once met me at a conference, and it feels rude to refuse them.

The problem is: As far as LinkedIn goes, these have equal weight. That makes the networking component far less useful than it might be. For example, if I want to contact someone through a connection, and I have a few pathways to that individual (the “could you forward this request?” message system), it makes more sense to choose that pathway based on relationship closeness. If, as happened recently, a friend asks, “So what do you know about this dude? Should I do business with him?” I have no earthly idea. Isn’t that a failure in the business-class social networking purpose?

Some kind of relationship strength indicator is, I believe, one of the most important new features LinkedIn could add. This would allow for more intelligent routing of requests, as described above, but also for other interesting possibilities, such as limiting notifications of profile changes only to people above a certain relationship strength. It would also potentially alleviate some of the issues with open linking if you could clearly distinguish those “in name only” connections from actual friends and colleagues.

Quotes of the week:

“I signed up for LikedIn ages ago – but until this year never took it seriously. But after a bunch of invitations, I started searching my past. Wow – people I never thought I’d find were there.” – Mitch Brisebois

“Surely the entire point of a networking style site is to, you know, help you network? God I hate that term. I don’t “network”, I maintain contacts, I chat to people at conferences, in mailing lists and blogs. I am not a computer, I will not be assimilated!!” – Gordon McLean

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