5 Effective Ways To Use LinkedIn

I’ve been a LinkedIn member for a long time now. As a matter of fact, I got an email last week from LinkedIn announcing their just passing 100 million members, and thanking me for being one of not only the first 1 million members, but actually placing being one of the first 685,000 members; not so bad, right? At first I wasn’t sure what to think of LinkedIn, but as time went along, I started to realize that as a business vehicle it’s fairly essential to be listed on the site and participating in some fashion. I’ve met a few people locally through there as well; that never stinks.

Having said that, as the site has grown I have to say that there are a number of people who don’t get it. I mean, it’s not all that hard to use, yet I see some things that just make me absolutely cringe. Since I figure it’s what I do, I’m going to offer 5 effective ways to use LinkedIn.

1. If you’re inviting someone to accept you as a connection, please write something special other than the standard message given to you by LinkedIn. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it seems to be a pet peeve of man local Syracuse folks based on what I’m reading on Twitter. It takes no time at all to write something a bit more personal, especially when you don’t know the person you’re asking to join, and then if it’s someone you know it’s even more special.

2. If you’re inviting someone to be a connection, don’t list them as someone who has worked with your business or at your business if they never did. This one is common for me, and its irksome. That’s because LinkedIn then believes you actually worked for that company and it starts sending you messages any time someone else from that company signs onto their service. And there’s nothing you can do about it; trust me on this one.

3. Join a group and write something. This was one of the changes LinkedIn made back in 2008 and it was a good one. Their groups are either business related or education related, and they give you a chance to show that you have some knowledge in your field. This is one place where lurking won’t do you any good because no one will know you’re there; why waste your time like that?

4. Every once in awhile, pop in a business update of some kind. I try to get there at least once a week to write something short and sweet that’s happened in my business, though sometimes it’s a couple of weeks. You do this because when LinkedIn sends out its weekly email, your name and what you’ve done might pop up in someone’s inbox, or they may be compelled to follow the link in the email to see what other people they’re connected to have done during the week. People like working with successful people.

5. If you ask for recommendations, only do it for people you know well and who know your work. I get requests all the time from people I barely know or may have met but never worked with. I ignore every single one of them, which of course means I delete them from my inbox, and I never respond to those people at all. Every once in awhile, if I’ve never met them in person, I’ll drop them from my contacts list. That kind of thing is unethical in my opinion, and if you’re unethical and I don’t really know you, how might you treat me when we do get to know each other?

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Thoughts About Facebook

On my Reviews of Everything site, I wrote a review on Facebook, around the same time they started advertising.

Now I’m more months into it, and I’m still wondering about the overall value of Facebook as a true social networking site. Here’s my issue; there’s not much networking going on at all, let alone socializing. The site is replete with groups that either are set up to recruit people to become friends with, or groups whose overall purpose is to satiate their lascivious tendencies (go look that one up; not a word I get to use often).

I’m certainly not a prude, but there are only be so much of this sort of thing before one gets bored. I’ve created two groups of my own there. One is for support of people who have diabetes, as I do, and the other is for people to post their blogs and talk about blogging in general. On one of the groups, I have maybe 25 people who’ve signed up, but mainly it’s just me talking and posting links to news about things related to diabetes. I can’t get a conversation going to save my soul. On the other group, some people are finally sharing their blogs, but no one wants to talk about anything, only to share their blog. On that group I don’t necessarily mind so much, as I love looking at new blogs, but I can’t believe people would join these groups, then have nothing to say.

I only have one friend on Facebook who’s actually found a group that has people who have real conversations, and it’s more of a group that does the same work as she does, so of course they’re talking shop. I’d love to join a group in one of the industries I’m a part of myself, but every group I looked at had no one talking to anyone, only a lot of people posting links to try to sell something.

Frankly, if this is what social networking is about online I’m kind of depressed. There was more conversation back in the old BBS bulletin board days; how many of you remember that? Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster, Black Planet, Izania,… nope, so far I’m not all that impressed.

Of course, I’m not leaving Facebook any time soon, because of only one thing; that Scrabulous thing, the game that’s actually Scrabble. Now that I can’t get enough of, and if that’s all I have, then so be it. It’s not overly social either, but at least it’s fun.

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