LinkedIn and The Future of Business Networking

LinkedIn and The Future of Business Networking

Written by Bernard Lunn / November 16, 2007

In the heyday of the Facebook hype (it seems so long ago now!), Facebook was going to eat LinkedIn’s lunch. Based on recent experience, I don’t think so.

I recently had reason to use LinkedIn seriously, using my existing
network to tap into a market that I had not previously been exposed to.
I had not used LinkedIn since the early days, so this was my first
serious update.

I have NOT used Facebook seriously. I registered out of curiosity
about the phenomenon and found that the only network I could join was
based on zip code – and that was useless. Then Read/WriteWeb set up a group on Facebook,
but I looked once and left. When I want the Read/WriteWeb network, I go
to the site itself. So please take my comments on Facebook with a large
lump of salt; but Fred Wilson too has made a more determined effort to use Facebook
and he has been disappointed. If there are technology entrepreneurs on
Facebook, you would think they would respond to an ad from one of the
leading VCs in the social media space saying “be my friend”.

If
Fred had used LinkedIn, he would have gotten a big response; possibly
too big and that is a filtering issue that LinkedIn seems sensitive to.
LinkedIn has definitely been useful for me. It is not a silver bullet,
but when used with respect for real world relationships it has served
one very important purpose – I can meet my objectives with the minimum
of intrusion on my contacts. I can search for the contacts/companies
that I want to reach and find who has a relationship and ping them for
help.

This is far more efficient than spamming all my contacts with a mass
email saying “anybody know anybody in this role at these companies?”
That would probably get a quick response but would rapidly deplete my
‘relationship capital’. It is also more effective than guessing who
would have the right contacts. In LinkedIn I have been constantly
surprised by contacts that I would never have guessed would be useful.

LinkedIn Reaches Nearly 80% of My Contacts

LinkedIn links to Webmail services such as Gmail, Yahoo and AOL,
which is a very effective way to increase their network scale. The
Gmail link enabled me to see which contacts were already in LinkedIn
and send them a request to connect via LinkedIn. Bearing in mind the
‘connection pollution’ problem, I was careful to only invite people who
I have a real relationship with. I left out the weak connections.

This also served a bit like a Plaxo update.

continue at ReadWrite site …. 

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