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Out of Our Minds
Monday, February 13, 2006 11:47 AM
Kevin Salwen on Technology

Do you use LinkedIn? I have been asked to join several groups on the social network, and did indeed sign on to one. But there wasn't much there for me and I've never gone back. And lately, as I've asked around, many other folks have told me of similar disappointment -- they joined but never found it useful.

I'm intrigued by social networking and wonder if I'm not using LinkedIn properly, or if it's the wrong model or what. Do you use it? If not, what would you want in a new network?


Carli - 2/15/2006 5:21:51 PM
I've used it to connect to people I had lost touch with. I've used it to find a lawyer who ended up doing good work for me. I'll be using it again to find another lawyer (different field of work).
Jerry G. - 2/15/2006 8:23:53 AM
I think the last two comments are very instructive -- 18 months of work, and a lot of work to get the gain. Should our tools be that hard to use?? Is there something out there that is simpler and more productive? Or is this the future?
Phil Gerbyshak - 2/14/2006 11:09:56 PM
LinkedIn has great potential, if as Gary said, you put some effort into it. You can search for mutual interests by region, which I find very useful for professional connections, and would find very useful were I to relocate.

The most useful piece to me is the LinkedIn toolbar, which allows me easily to grab the e-mail addresses from people I send e-mail to and receive e-mail from. I use gmail, so I download all my e-mail to Outlook, only to get the e-mail addresses synced up so I can send out cards and such to people I've corresponded with primarily online.

I would give it a 6, with potential of an 8, though effort can be high to get from 6 to 8.
Gary Ginter - 2/14/2006 4:38:28 AM
Linkedin seemed like a waste of time for me for maybe the first 18 months. I didn't use it and only responded to other's requests of me to use it to stay in touch with them. However, at some point in that second year, I passed an initial 'tipping point' in which the value of the tool began to surface unbidden. Maybe there's a minimum critical mass of involvement that you need to reach in order to realize positive feedback loops? I.E., feedback loops that yeild as much value as you put into them. If so, then Linkedin would be like most of physical life where there is no free lunch - you must invest a considerable amount of effort into a process, learning or tool to gain positive returns on youir effort.

What have I benefited from in my use of Linkedin? I have met a couple of medium relevance counterparts I likely wouldn't have otherwise met. As a netweaver, such hits are worth a lot to me, and I really have yet to learn how to initiate much activity on the system. About all I really have done is to hang-in there and to accept invitations to connect with others. I have explored to whom I was getting connected and found some potentially worthwhile contacts that way. I have asked a question and gotten a useful suggestion regarding a solution provider. I have not received anything like spam inquiries for jobs.

Overall, Linkedin seems to me to be a promising tool, but I am satisfied at a level of about 5 out of a possible 10. Stay tuned...
bill Kidd - 2/13/2006 6:35:08 PM
My LinkedIn tale: Joined it. Got hit up for a bunch of jobs by people who thought I had deeper pockets than I do. Quit.
Francis Wu - 2/13/2006 2:29:46 PM
Same thing happened to me. I joined and haven't been there since. I also did the exact same thing with Friendster.

Seems to me that such sites are generally only useful once or twice. Realistically speaking, how often would you use LinkedIn to job-hunt? Also, while you're comfortably employed, how commited are you to actually continue using the site? Same goes for Friendster, which to me is a glorified dating site. How commited are you to using the site once you're in a well-established relationship?

Also, its usefulness also depends on the strength of your own network and the commitment of your invitors and invitees.

I'm not sure what I'd like to see in a new network either. I too am intrigued by social networking and would like to see some more comments...


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