BY G. A. FINCH
I have been using LinkedIn for about three years with mixed results. I have advocated that executives’ using LinkedIn is critical to maintaining visibility in an increasing virtual world. People do indeed research others on the internet and having a website and a LinkedIn bio is important to provide positive and relevant information about your business, organization or profession. Executive and corporate recruiters definitely use LinkedIn and are probably the main generators of revenue streams for the LinkedIn business model.
LinkedIn Keeps Growing
More and more people are signing up as evidenced in more and more requests that I receive from persons who wish to become one of my connections. I now have 600 connections and counting. This large number does not make me feel either popular or especially connected. Many of the requestors I do not know well and there are several that I do not know at all. That’s okay. I am again an open networker, so I rarely decline a request to connect.
I find that I do not have time to keep up with all the daily updates, and I would guess that maybe one out of 50 updates I do find interesting. Not that my own occasional updates are terribly compelling or interesting. My updates usually involve telling folks about what kind of legal matters that I am working on.
The affinity groups are uneven in their being current and substantive. Some discussion groups are better than others. The biggest problem: Who has the time to check in and keep current? I know that I suffer from time scarcity and lingering on LinkedIn can’t be a priority for me.
I do like the business news feed that is on my home page, and I actually try to read the articles when I am there.
LinkedIn also provides a portal to my blog, which is convenient for its distribution.
The best feature about my “connections” is that it keeps me current on people’s job changes and e-mail contacts.
The introductions via connections are awkward and they seem more personable to accomplish via private e-mail exchanges between the interested parties and their mutual connection.
You need an enhanced paid account in order to do direct in-mail communications with persons to whom you are not connected. In-mail communications from strangers may come across as intrusive.
I am not negative about LinkedIn. I do think that it has not lived up to either its promise or potential. The key thing is for LinkedIn to develop more content to make it attractive as a destination website. Interactivity will have to revolve around compelling common interests like a cause, an alumni group, or a trade or professional group continuing-education matter.
Must Keep Using
Should you forgo LinkedIn? I think not. You want to make it easy for potential customers, clients, employers, recruiters and business partners to research you. LinkedIn, through internet search engines, has become a primary source to do that. As I have said in previous posts, it’s your free billboard.