Executives’ and professionals’ interest in learning about LinkedIn is accelerating at a brisk pace.
More and more applications are being developed for LinkedIn users. Just recently I signed on to two applications: Slide Share Presentations and Legal Updates.
One allows me to upload presentations on topics that I have spoken or written about. The other allows me to upload articles, newsletters, blog posts and filings.
For example on the Slide Share Presentation feature, I uploaded a power point presentation on public construction projects that I did for a seminar given to civil engineers. This simple upload drastically increased my audience on that topic manifold and any LinkedIn connections can utilize it. When you spend time preparing a presentation or writing an article, you do want people to read it.
The Legal Update application is targeted to lawyers being able to broadly disseminate their written materials on legal subjects; I have not used it yet, but I have plenty of already published legal articles that are yearning to be read by a wider audience and have additional 15 seconds of fame.
Content for In-person Conversations
I have found that the LinkedIn content aggregated on my home page and profile prompts many offline, in-person conversations with my LinkedIn connections and non-LinkedIn contacts. LinkedIn has become a repository of useful information that can be shared easily. For example, at lunch today, I recommended to one friend who was interested in expanding his use of LinkedIn to read my blog posts about it. For another friend at lunch, I pointed to certain LinkedIn groups that could be fruitful for a job search.
To Ask or Not to Ask, That is the Question
A different friend at the lunch brought up the question of whether you should seek people you know to connect or wait to be asked. The overwhelming response was you should actively ask as that is the point of social media – it is after all, not a dating game or popularity contest, but a networking objective. Being intentional rather than random about your connections is the idea. You don’t want to seek or accept connections from people you don’t know or don’t have some affinity or affiliation. Of course, for people you do not know and with whom you want to connect, you can invite them to have a meeting or telephone conversation to learn about each other and then make the decision. If you do not want to connect with someone it is more polite to simply archive the request than to click the “I don’t know this person” button because if a requester receives too many rejections, her account may be frozen by LinkedIn.
Having said all this now and before about the beauty of LinkedIn, we all should note well: Although LinkedIn is a powerful tool and medium, there is no substitute for in-person, face-to-face dialogue with folks.