By now those of you who have read some of my posts know that I have no real use for Plaxo (although I am a ‘member’) but am a regular user of LinkedIn. I have yet to become what I see a number of people are which is what I call a ‘serial networker’. Those with more than 500 contacts fit this moniker. I have over 300 and personally know and have met almost every single person in my network. This is unlike Twitter on which I have nearly 600 followers but have met under 30. More on following large groups of people on Twitter in a subsequent post.
But I really think LinkedIn provides are great tool and service for business people. Since the information is self-provided it is generally accurate if not a bit embellished. (Save for the prevaricators that are no doubt members as well but hopefully not in my network). Whenever I am given a new contact via referral the first thing I do is type their name into the search function of LinkedIn. It does not work every time since there are still many folks who are not on LinkedIn or there are times when there are too many John Smiths to figure even if you know the geographic location. Since the information is what people provide on their own and when you do get a proper profile you get a snapshot of their location, career path, education and even a few interests. This is BEFORE you have even LinkedIn with them. And answering questions in specific areas does build your standing and reputation as a resource which has helped me and our company gain business.
But it gets better than that. Search by company can provide position locations for job searches. Industries can be investigated by category. And people with whom you have lost touch can be found (yes this is done on Facebook and other social networks as well). Of course you can get great information via Google and Yahoo but I have found LinkedIn to be faster and quite reliable.
Did I mention that Linkedin is free? They do have a revenue model for enhanced access and the ability to send messages to people with whom you would like to be in touch but have no contact. More importantly introductions via people you are connected to work out really well as there is a level of inherent trust built in.
I don’t understand why anyone would not want to be listed on LinkedIn. The days of reveling in ones anonymity are over. People can find out things about you in many other places. Just ask and read about Justice Scalia this past week. Wouldn’t want them to find out things about you from your own perspective?
Have a great holiday weekend.