"25 people in your network work at Lockheed Martin and can help you get this job."

Really? I'm not so sure. That's an awfully big place-are you sure that every one that works there can help me? While we are at it, is "can" that valuable? What about "would if asked" or "will?" That's what really matter.

All quibbling about semantics aside: LinkedIn seems to think it can help me get a new job at Lockheed Martin (not that I'm even looking for a new gig - last I checked, I love my current gig).

I finally updated my LinkedIn profile. Previously, I had a profile simply because I talked about potentially working with 1 very active LinkedIn user who added me. "Ok, whatever - I'll take a look at LinkedIn." I said.

And that was that. For over a year.

-end scene

To Start

Until this week. I added some information (my profile is still very thin and needs some work), looked at a few features, imported contacts.

And, overall, it's a nifty little service. I like clean edges and LinkedIn, for me, is about work (as opposed to Facebook being about personal). That's over-stating it but I do like that I can put up a virtual resume/CV and keep tabs on business contacts.

Keeping Connected

That's what online communities do well: establish a loose connection with acquaintances. Facebook lets me keep tabs on people I knew decade ago (no typo, I'm just not that old yet) and vice versa and I'm hoping LinkedIn will let me keep up with my business network. Something I have, to date, done poorly at. Except for the people I regularly connect with, my other business connections are lost to the sands of time.

The way it works with Facebook is that there is a potential for a mountain of information: both inside Facebook and outside. And Facebook essentially filters it for me: presenting a homepage that is a river of synopses about John's comments on "The Life of Pie" or Shelley's pictures from "BirthdzeBash 22!"

I haven't quite figured out what mountain of information LinkedIn will "tap in to" to keep my up-to-date with business contacts, but the limited "I worked here, now I don't" will be enough.

It looks like they are starting to expand the potential pile of information: for example, I like LinkedIn Answers. I haven't used it yet, but it seems like a good idea. It's like an online forum made up of everyone I knew and people they know ("my network" in LinkedIn speak). It's wider than the question I might be able to ask otherwise, but shallower than say "all the internet" which I could do in a different fashion.

Job Hunting

While I poked fun at the job introductions aspect of LinkedIn, I do think it makes a lot of sense. Why wouldn't I post something on LinkedIn and see if any contacts of contacts find it. If they come referred from my friend Arnold I can call Arnold: "So, is this person any good? Why should I hire them?" Beats sorting through a stack of responses from Workopolis or Monster.

And really, it makes a lot of sense. It's just digitizing what we already do: if I need a position filled I often tell friends and if they have any ideas, I'll often follow up. If I can use a tool to track that and broadcast it better then I should get a better response.

That is LinkedIn using its network of connections to advantage. Which raising another question: Why isn't LinkedIn setting a Facebook-like ad network? They sell Google Ads. I'm sure some of these are useful, but wouldn't there be tremendous value in having direct ads on LinkedIn? ( Read more of my thoughts building social advertising networks.)

I'm not really complaining - I'm more surprised. In this day and age of online self-ness to see someone as old/big/stable as LinkedIn using someone else's ads is unusual. But I think it makes sense if, like I hope, it's due to to the fact that the ads are temporary (somehow I doubt it). Charging for job posting is commonly accepted. If you can charge for posting at the best possible place to the most qualified people to get the most recommended & qualified potentials - that's worth it. It's like " scary good job posts." And if you can monetize that feature (and, presumably, have other money mechanisms) you should be OK - and drop the ads since they don't help your users really (at least, not these ads).

I don't get messages in systems - mostly. Very few times to I find it valuable to use the system message instead of... you know, email. As recently as Dec 2007, they are "actively working" on the messaging and creating new features.

It's not just LinkedIn: I don't like Facebook messages either. That's another inbox to monitor. Arrg. I know that they feel value in it: they have my messages on their machines and I'll come and get them which means more interaction with me. But, as a user, I find it incredibly annoying that there isn't a button for "redirect all my messages to my gmail inbox" (and if I respond it redirects to the main system and shows in their messaging system). This is how eBay messaging works: they have messaging that you can do internal to eBay, but you don't have to. And I don't.


Monday, January 14, 2008, 12:00 AM

tagged: socialweb, webadvertising, facebook, linkedin