Experimenting with LinkedIn

Jared Spool

September 7th, 2005

To learn more about the benefits of social networking, I’m currently trying to build up my network on LinkedIn.

I haven’t quite figured out exactly what it’s useful for, though it does feel like there’s something there. Right now, it mostly feels like collecting baseball cards: I have this need to get as many as possible, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with them once I have a complete set. (Maybe, in 30 years, I can sell all my LinkedIn connections on eBay for thousands of dollars? What’s the equivalent of a 1964 Mickey Mantle?)

Anyways, if you’re a member and want to join my experiment, just put me in for a connection. (You can find my email address by searching for my name on LinkedIn.)

Are you using a social networking site? What benefits have you seen from them?

8 Responses to “Experimenting with LinkedIn”

  1. DonnaM Says:

    I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while. Haven’t used it a whole lot, but did recently get an IA contract from someone who otherwise wouldn’t have known about me.

  2. Daniel Szuc Says:

    They have created a nice link between the contacts in your network and jobs listings. For example, you may connect to a person related to a job thats listed. Makes looking for a job feel more personal. Nice touch!

  3. Chris Cavallucci Says:

    Feeling the need to get as many connections as possible IS ONLY TEMPORARY. Once you see that you have many connections in your immediate network, you will realize that only a few of them are truly TRUSTED connections. LinkedIn is fun use — it’s easy to see who and what you may have in common with another person. Sometimes you can be surprised by your connectedness.

    LinkedIn is a great site for exploring professional opportunities and networking. But people still need to talk on the phone and meet face-2-face to foster their relationships. Now, I’m off to create the connection with Jared.

  4. Kevin Cheng Says:

    Adding random people to linkedin is exactly the way to NOT have it be useful. Basically, here’s how I see linked in: I know quite a few people at quite a few companies. If a friend wants to apply somewhere, and I know someone at that place, I would love to be able to say, “hey you should talk to my friend so-and-so at that same company.” Problem is, I don’t always know when someone is looking and further, they don’t usually realize i know someone.

    “What? You applied there? You should have told me. I’d have hooked you up,” is what I usually say. I’m not stingy about my network. If it can benefit my friends and acquantances, I’ll gladly share but it’s so much easier for others to find out.

    So my litmus test for accepting invitations is, “I don’t have to feel like i know this person so well I can give a reference but I should feel comfortable enough with them that I can introduce them to others on my network without worry.”

  5. Jared Spool Says:

    Kevin, I understand what you mean.

    However, I’m what Malcolm Gladwell might call a connector. I think of people who read our blog or subscribe to our list or come to our events as people who I want to have a connection with.

    I think what I’m learning is that LinkedIn has no way to distinguish between “my lifetime best friend” and “someone who I just met but could an important connection.” I think it’s Orkut (or is it Friendster — I can’t keep ‘em straight) that asks you to rate each connection on a likert scale. I wonder if that makes sense for LinkedIn or if you need a tagging system (ala Flickr).

  6. Eric Meyer Says:

    I think what I’m learning is that LinkedIn has no way to distinguish between “my lifetime best friend” and “someone who I just met but could an important connection.”

    That’s why LinkedIn should support XFN!

  7. Coug Darter Says:

    LinkedIn is, in concept, a good idea for personal networking. However, any employers, recruiters and individuals using this tool to obtain information on potential employees are most likely liable for any comments. In addition, this is suspect in terms of EEOC and diversity issues. Legally, it is a bad idea to use LinkedIn as a source of employment verification/information. I can foresee many employers and individuals being in the legal process very soon. In sum, keep LinkedIn and all such tools in the friendship contact mode and avoid legal issues that will come!

  8. Linked Into LinkedIn at kev/null Says:

    [...] Some people have been rediscovering LinkedIn lately. Whenever someone talks about this site, the same kind of things come up. For example, Jared talked about how it was like collecting baseball cards, which seems logical given that most social networking sites have the pokemon effect (”gotta catch ‘em all”) but that’s the problem. If you approached LinkedIn like you did MySpace, the value of the site is zero. [...]

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