Three ways I get value from LinkedIn

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Vancouver blogger and friend-of-SoSi Dr. Raul Pacheco has a post today explaining why he's been skeptical about LinkedIn, the business-focused social network. And on Twitter, he asked for suggestions "if you believe in this social network, or can give me some insight on its value".

If you've been wondering about LinkedIn, too, here's what I suggested to Raul:

I'm completely onside with being picky about where you devote your online attention, and LinkedIn can be especially thorny: the fact that there's an implied endorsement when you connect to someone can make it awkward to decline an invitation. (Not to mention what it can do to your ego when someone declines yours!)

That said, just off the top of my head, here are three ways I've found LinkedIn hugely useful:

  1. LinkedIn Groups: Because these birds-of-a-feather communities are professional in nature, I've found the conversations there tend to be conducted at a more business-like level than what I'd get on, say, Facebook. And I'm discovering some people doing fascinating work whom I might never otherwise have come across.
  2. Network diving: This is something Alex has shown me, and good lord, it's handy. When I'm travelling out of town, I search my network on the destination. Now I have folks to look up when I'm in town, as well as second-degree connections who might well be worth meeting while I'm there. I ask for a few introductions, and we're off to the races.
  3. LinkedIn Answers: This underused (IMHO) LinkedIn feature lets you draw on your community's expertise, as well as giving you a chance to share your knowledge and, perhaps, come to the attention of people you'd like to connect to.

Do any of those sound potentially compelling to you?


Raul Pacheco says

February 19, 2010 - 10:11am

Dear Rob, Your generosity knows no bounds. Thanks so much for sharing your insight. I am horribly worried that my LinkedIn profile sucks. But I'll try to pay attention to it, because yes, the three ways in which you suggest LinkedIn would be valuable to me are actually VERY compelling. Thank you.

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