Sunday, September 16, 2007

what's interesting about LinkedIn

This is a slightly different type of post that I normally write, as I've deviated from my normal specific technology rambling to give you my impressions of a social networking website called LinkedIn. The site is useful, as it may provide some direction for skilled individuals who want to reconnect with old work or school mates, beef up their resume in the hopes of getting new employment or just expand their horizons.

LinkedIn is exactly what the name implies: you create a user profile and based upon information you share, like education and jobs you've had, LinkedIn will find old friends and contacts for you. After entering your basic data, LI will pop up a list of possible contacts for you to invite to join your network. It was pretty amazing to see the vendor contacts I've worked with popup on the list of possible contacts list, simply because they had stated that they had worked for some of the same companies that I had. Or old friends who came up because they went to the same university during the same period I did and were also on LinkedIn.

This is the interesting thing about how LI creates your connections. LinkedIn matches people up by the firms they work(ed) for, the universities they attended and the companies they partnered with. It is the concept of six degrees of separation; ie, you are only six hops away from anyone in the world.

It is important to note that you can control who sees your info via the privacy settings, mainly by making your profile public or private.

If you've made your profile public, you can accept an invitation to link up from a person who has found you. Normally, the person who found you will have connections of their own. Going forward, you'll always see how a person on LinkedIn is connected to you by the degrees of separation that person is from you, as well as the total number of people in your extended network. Pretty cool.

Also, people who you are linked to can recommend you, thus adding value to your vita in case you're aiming to get a new job via LI. In addition, you can recommend service providers or be recommended as a service provider. Finally, you can add street cred for yourself by answering questions posed by other members on LinkedIn's Answers from Your Network section. The questions are generally related to the industry you're in.

As I'm exploring new opportunities in the NYC area that better suit my lifestyle (music/video/tech), I'm trying to beef up my own network in the next year. Good luck and see you on LinkedIn!


No comments:

Feel free to drop me a line or ask me a question.