Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Is LinkedIn linking you up with useful contacts?

Continuing the review of social media, we take a look at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn joined my portfolio of social media experiments in February 2008. At the time it appeared to offer unique networking opportunities through connectivity to current and past work colleagues who via endorsements could vouch for my skills and credibility. It offered more than the local breakfast club, more than a showcase for my CV and the potential to link to people who might have use of my services. Unlike Facebook with hundreds or indeed thousands of 'friends' LinkedIn offered a degree of exclusivity and access via real contacts to fellow professionals. But somehow along the way the original concept seems to have been quietly abandoned as it becomes yet another platform for advertisers and digital marketers.

What is it?
Launched in 2003 LinkedIn is described as a business oriented social networking service. It is about finding a job, discovering sales leads and connecting with business partners.

How do I us it?
Once I had set up my profile I waited for a deluge of enquiries for marketing services. Nothing happened. I am not fond of asking for people to recommend me, but it was apparently necessary to complete my profile. It's a bit like asking friends if they know a good plumber. From time to time I  return to LinkedIn and send invites to people I know, have met, even one or two I  only know via the Internet, to join my connections. So there are waves of new people joining, but in the main all contacts are people I actually know. I don't use it proactively to publish information or news. Perhaps I  should.

What does it do?
My home page tells me my 152 connections somehow links me u to 5.4 million professionals in my network. You can join groups, you can publish stuff and it is this ability to publish that is making it look more like Facebook as the days go by. And because digital marketing companies are pushing the same stuff out to all the social media channels, there is a repetition of content. Via email I  regularly receive prompts to congratulate a contact on the occasion of an anniversary,  to endorse their skills simply by checking a box (not by writing a contact specific endorsement) or inviting someone to be a contact

Does it work?
Has it brought me in work? No. But neither did the breakfast networking clubs where you actually met people, but generally people like myself offering services, not people requiring them.

My view on LinkedIn
Kind of a background tool to provide anyone who does want to talk about marketing services the references to my experience, work and general professional environment.

Next time - YouTube.

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