PR blogger Todd Defren is directing people to his LinkedIn profile rather than creating an “About” link on his blog. He sees it as a sort of “digital lifestyle aggregator”:
I see a need for a place to tell my “total” story; a place online that can integrate all the diverse fragments of my work, the sum of which = my professional reputation.
I think LinkedIn is a good spot for that: it allows people to provide their employment history, with endorsements from colleagues about their work across each career milestone. It provides for web and blog links. It gives folks a sense for how “well-connected” you are, i.e., how much time you invest in the important work of relationship-building.
The LinkedIn profile could be like a permalink for your career.
A few months ago, LinkedIn added a feature to make your profile page public on the web using a simple URL, e.g., LinkedIn.com/in/ScottAllen. Since then, a lot of professionals are starting to use their LinkedIn profiles as a sort of “professional home page” that’s independent of their company. Because of the LinkedIn domain’s popularity, these profile pages tend to do well in the search engines. This may not be a big deal for people with very distinctive names, but for those of us with more common names, that’s a good thing.
You get to decide the “nickname” for your URL (the part after http://linkedin.com/in/ ). I highly recommend making it your real name, if available, not your current business name or something you think is really clever. As Dr. Philip Agre says, “The most fundamental way of finding people online is to help them find you.”
Emily Sweeney is a staff reporter at The Boston Globe and president of the New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Writing for Editor & Publisher, a professional journal for the newspaper industry, Emily says that journalists should join LinkedIn and other social networks to expand their base for story ideas and sources:
I joined Friendster in June 2003. Then I joined MySpace.com. I quickly learned that these social networking sites can be a treasure trove of contacts and newstips. They’re helpful for finding sources, and having sources locate you. More recently, I joined another site called LinkedIn, which can connect you to your colleagues and folks in all kinds of industries.
Traditionally, journalists and reporters have kept a Rolodex of favorite sources. More recently they’ve turned to expert directories like Profnet, which is maintained by PR professionals. But with the growth of open directory services like LinkedIn or ZoomInfo that are inexpensive or even free, it’s much easier now to make yourself more visible to journalists. That’s not to say that there’s not value in the more traditional channels, but rather that you really need to have a managed presence in LinkedIn, et al., if you want to be found by journalists on the basis of your expertise, not just your name.