Social networking is a big deal in some circles these days, and I'm trying it out, too. Thanks to a recommendation from a colleague, I've created a profile at LinkedIn, but I'm curious what it's really good for. Is it
- a videogame for consultants, where the goal is to get as many links as possible and you get 4 extra points for each endorsement
- a way to burn time that feels a bit like business development when you can't think of anything else to do
- a way to make others feel bad when they only have x links and you have y links (where y is much greater than x!)
- a way to get people to ask you to help them in exchange for money
- a way to ask others if they will provide you some money in exchange for some sort of legally available services
- a way to pay LinkedIn exhorbitant fees after we become dependent on its connections and endorsements and they start to charge for it
- (there's got to be at least one sinister thought :-) a way for them to capture a contact database for their next great online retail venture
I know it can do the first; I'm hoping to figure out how to make 4. or 5. work without spending so much time that it isn't cost-effective. When I got started in this, Dutch Driver and others were insistent it was the greatest thing ever (well, the exaggeration is mine), but I couldn't get the benefit except that I could connect to lots of
others, as if that were my final goal.
So, any brilliant ideas? It lacks a blog, wiki, or threaded conversation space, which could generate interest. It seems mostly good for addressing impulses of the sort, "I think I'd like to [do business with | get hired by | interview | ...] someone at XYZ
company, but I don't know anyone there who will give me the time of day, and I can't email everyone in my address book to ask if they know someone 'cause they'll eventually get mad at me. Ah! I can let LinkedIn see if I know someone [who knows someone ...] at XYZ Company." Have any of you turned LinkedIn or any of its cousins into productive tools for achieving your business purpose?