I’ve heard it called MySpace for adults or business people, or an online way to play “6 Degrees of Separation”. It’s LinkedIn.com and if you’ve had your head in the sand and haven’t heard of it, it’s a Web 2.0 phenomenon that’s a great way to do business networking with others online.
LinkedIn is an online network of more than 11 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries.
When you join you put up a profile – essentially your resume and then “invite” your own personal contacts to join. They have a very nice interface that allows you to upload your Microsoft Outlook Contact and easily E-mail them invitations to join to.
Growing your LinkedIn Network of Contacts is the goal. Encouraging your network contacts to grow their network of contacts indirectly grows your network of contacts. As LinkedIn puts it:
Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.
LinkedIn says that “Invitations should only be sent to people you know personally” i.e. friends, colleges and business associates. But this is the most ignored rule of LinkedIn and they know it and turn a blind eye to it.
You have to admire the people who accumulate a lot of contacts by real honest to goodness networking. My wife just hit her 200th contact of people she actually knows and has worked with. But while she’s out marketing and selling people on Search Mojo, I’m back at the office doing account management, not meeting people… And in some ways I’m fine with that.
What I found on LinkedIn though was that there is no way that the people with the most contacts actually know all those people. I kept seeing people who used the term LinkedIn “LION” in their profiles. LION means Linked In Open Networker. Some have even called themselves promiscuous linkers.
LIONs will link with anyone and openly admit it. They print their contact E-mail in their profiles which allows total strangers to contact them directly and request to be added to their networks. To my knowledge LinkedIn does not edit the E-mail addresses out any profiles – despite telling people to only link with people they know.
Most of the top linked people on LinkedIn are in the staffing industry and use “open networking” to grow their own networks – allowing them to easily search for top talent to fill positions.
I put my E-mail address right next to my name in my profile and get constant requests to join my network. I also found a site (www.toplinked.com) ranking the top linked people on LinkedIn – almost all are LIONs.
I’ve sold myself cheap to grow my LinkedIn network – some are actual contacts. But, Jack White’s words from the White Stripe’s latest single “Icky Thump” rings true to me when it comes to LinkedIn: “You can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.”
I’ve made my choice though; I’m a LinkedIn prostitute and admit it. I’m trying to just be a selective “high class LinkedIn who**” and just link with the very top linked people.
I look at it this way. I’m making myself more visible to more people in LinkedIn who might be interested in Search Mojo.
That doesn’t make me a bad person…does it?