March 27, 2009

Have You LinkedIn?

"The ability for individuals to build a personal brand
has never been more important."
Mitch Joel

One of the fastest growing sites this year is LinkedIn. If you’re not familiar, this is a business social networking space. Unlike Twitter, you can post your resume and tell as much of your professional story as you want. Unlike Facebook, this is a bit more serious and doesn’t have as many plug-ins and apps.

It’s no surprise that LinkedIn has grown so much lately in lieu of what is going on.

"Your mileage may vary. I will do it my way, as most folks who connect with me eventually come calling to reach someone else that Iʼve added, and I feel good every time I can be helpful."
Chris Brogan

Like Facebook, LinkedIn features thousands of groups which you can join or you can start your own. This is a way to find similar thinking people in similar industries all over the world. It can give you a way to interact with people you would have never met otherwise.

Potential clients, employers and colleagues can educate themselves on you. Clients may want to know how you portray yourself before they let you do their marketing. Someone looking to hire you may want to see what kind of network you have developed or see if there is information you haven’t shared with them.

"Have a strong signal and rise above the noise."
Liz Strauss

One caution, if you have several profiles it is easy for potential employers to access information on you from your other profiles as well. So the pictures of Frank doing a belly flop in the lake at the cottage last summer may not put you in a good light. Then again, they might depending on the client or employer!

Lately, there has been chatter about advertising on LinkedIn and various other social networking platforms. Well it's simple, they need to make money or they will go out of business.

"In the future, social networks will be like air. They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be."
Charlene Li

Quality online spaces will not survive without cash flow. The venture capitalists need to see ROI eventually. But it is dicey business when the backbone of these spaces is built on community for the purpose of community. These digital spaces are companies. Those involved want to see a profit. Their challenge is to avoid temptation to exploit the users, our challenge it to be aware of that possibility.

"Why people choose to visit online social sites: Who likes me? Is everything okay? How can I become more popular? What's new? I'm bored, let's make some noise."
Seth Godin

We have hopefully learned our lesson from the dot-com bust that it's not enough to have shiny offices and a cool logo. And if you have LinkedIn, here's hoping it has become a valuable tool for you.


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disclosure: linkedin is not a client

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