Monday, June 1, 2009

LinkedIn, what's the deal?

LinkedIn. A business forum to exchange information, ideas and opportunities. It stands apart from Myspace and Facebook in that it is a professional landing page, a place kept separate from the colloquial atmosphere. However, how much space does this professional cover allow? Does it give people an excuse for a contact that might be even more personal and less legitimate than on a different site?

I recently joined LinkedIn and promptly left it alone for five months. See, I’m more of a Social Networker, my main profiles being Myspace and Facebook. LinkedIn just didn’t have much of a draw to me. I’m not a Sales Rep, why would I need to make more professional contacts?

However, working where I do (, I realized at a point that it was silly for me to represent a Web PR firm where we work to expand the network of our clients and only have six connections myself! I decided to correct this and imported my boss’ connections to the computer, uploaded them and I was off.

The replies flooded in. In the first day I had around 500 e-mail notifications: the acceptances, responses to the message I had sent out and, interestingly enough, multiple compliments. As a woman I must confess, flattery is an amazing tool; however, this much? From this many people I don’t know? This was a little, well, weird.

From everything I’ve seen, Myspace and Facebook are rather blatant about any, ah, advances that someone might make to another. It goes something along the lines of, “daM gurl, u finE tlk 2 u soon!!” and you proceed to deny their friend request.

The replies I got on LinkedIn though were much more “subtleward.” (Subtly forward, innocent communication with an underlying hint of something more.)! Eg. “Thanks for the connect, you have a GREAT picture! I’m moving to Tampa soon, maybe we can meet up and discuss a future together!” I’m sorry? My future with an International Trade & Export Compliance Professional? If you’re interested in Richter, go for it, we have sales people who can help with anything you might have a question on. My profile specifically states that I am not a sales rep. The same day I got a phone call at my business saying that they saw my profile and he wanted me to know I could call him anytime. Oh yeah, he didn’t even say what he did.

The most startling message was in reply to my current experience post I have up stating I’m a poet. With a message saying that I “had gained a connection and a poem” for saying that, I didn’t think much of it. Until the next day I was e-mailed a poem written for me, from a connection on LinkedIn...who I’d never met. Sweet, but maybe a little too much.

However, these are a few select examples. I will confess that the majority of the messages I got (around 2,000) most simply said something along the lines of, “Thank you for reaching out and connecting, please let me know how I can assist you.” With the most welcoming stating something like, “I just wanted to acknowledge your e-mail and LinkedIn invite - Thank You!! I appreciate it. Let me know if I can be of any help! Take care and I truly do wish you the very best in everything you accomplish and do!!!”

I guess with my minimal experience on LinkedIn, I have a lot to learn. Maybe I shouldn’t be sitting here ripping on what I haven’t found out about yet. Whatever the case may be for these few examples I’ve found, LinkedIn has become an incredible asset to millions of people all over the world. Connecting business professionals of all kinds and advancing people and companies both.

I’m going to take LinkedIn from a fresh viewpoint right now. These few responses aren’t going to tarnish my look on something that has the potentiality to be very advantageous.

Have a LinkedIn? Join my network,

See you soon.

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