LinkedIn and Lame begin with “L” — Coincidence?

loser

Is LinkedIn for losers?

Nah. It’s just lame.

Granted, LI is a decent place to park your resume info. And it’s not a bad place to manage contact info. LI is also easy to use, and it’s free. But that’s about it.

Let’s face it — the typical LI profile tells you little about the person — only about the credentials. It’s an online resume that poorly structured. It’s your “image” dressed in Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes, and I can’t believe anyone is impressed by it.

What do most LI profiles tell us? Not much.

I thought I was the only one hating on LinkedIn until I heard Peter Shankman express similar thoughts last week at Cleveland PRSA. Does anyone really buy the “endorsements” on a LinkedIn profile?  Geez, I hope not. LI endorsements are solicited from supporters, so you’ll never read a bad one. They’re about as valuable as a note from my mom saying, “Billy is a nice boy.”

Now, let’s compare LI to Facebook, as Shankman did in his Cleveland talk. Your FB page, used as directed, tells me a good bit about YOU. I learn about the music you like, the books you read, the hobbies you pursue. I might even see a few photos from your vacation trip, adding a human touch. Point is, I see a semi-real person, not a LinkedIn “suit.”

As more of the 30+ crowd begins using FB as a professional networking tool, those profiles will become a lot more tame than in past years, and people will allow broader access to them. On Facebook, it’s easy to be authentic. You can write a story that showcases your talents along with your personal attributes. Just don’t get carried away, OK? Example: I don’t list my NRA membership in online profiles, as it tends to scare people (and at times embarrass me). Same goes for dead deer pictures from hunting trips, which I do post on occasion —  just to scare people.

Qualifications being equal, employers hire people they like. Facebook can help you paint a likable portrait. No so on LinkedIn. The LI format isn’t visual enough, and the membership, well, they take themselves way too seriously.

Your LI or FB profile alone still won’t get you a job offer. But raising your online presence can help. Here are some other ways you can do that:

Launch a blog and post regularly. Write on topics that interest you or topics tied to your business niche. Place a link on your FB and LinkedIn pages, add the URL to your business card and resume; promote your new posts on Twitter. A blog let’s you showcase your knowledge, your writing and your persona.

Use Twitter strategically. Forget “What are you doing now?” Set goals and define your audience. Then follow them and join their discussions. I’ve watched more than a few young professionals insert themselves into conversations with senior-level people and forge new connections. Again echoing Shankman, Twitter keeps you top-of-mind. Use it.

Create a digital portfolio. Too many job seekers, including some of my own students, don’t have online portfolios. Lots of people, now out of work or soon to be, simply haven’t taken this simple step. While I can’t cite links for you today, I’ve reviewed a few portfolio sites that a monkey could use — all for about $10 a month.

BTW, I have a LinkedIn account, but my profile has a Facebook attitude. I’m probably setting a bad example for my students, but what the hell. I have a job. For now.

45 Responses to LinkedIn and Lame begin with “L” — Coincidence?

  1. Ed says:

    Haha! I don’t even have a LinkedIn account. I don’t see how having someone in a “list” says anything about being connected or developing a relationship. I will still have to go offline for that… and that simply means I don’t need something like LinkedIn.

  2. I won’t disagree with you about your points regarding LinkedIn as a communications tool – it provides nowhere near the level of interaction you get with Facebook. However, I’ve found a lot of value through using LinkedIn.

    If you already know everybody – as I’m convinced Peter Shankman does – than LinkedIn probably is useless for you. If you’re still trying to build new relationships in your profession, LinkedIn can shave years off the process by showing mutual connections.

    How many years would it take us to discover we both know Stanton Hudson? And we haven’t even met yet. Facebook doesn’t do that.

    I like Facebook for family and friends (people that won’t think twice about seeing a dead deer in my profile) – whereas LinkedIn works best for business relationships. There’s some cross-over between the two, but that’s my stance on it.

  3. Sally Hodge says:

    Like you — like many — I have both a Linked In and a FaceBook account. I haven’t really figured out how to make LI work for me as well as FB does. I don’t know if I’m just not that smart or if LI is just not as intuitive. But really, between Twittering and FB and LI…who’s got time to keep up and do their work? LI falls in the low priority category. Even though at this point in time, I need more business more than I need more friends! Thanks for weighing in!

  4. Bill Sledzik says:

    Everyone needs business more than friends these days, Sally. But you know, I pulled in a lot of business over the years from folks who became friends first, clients next. So it works both ways. But I should mention, those were friends I made the old fashioned way — face to face over a few beers.

    As Jeremy points out, maybe one way to build the connections is to use LI to determine who knows whom. That one or two degrees of separation might make it easier to reach out. But it can get awkward asking for the referral.

    Have not seen a lot written about how to use LinkedIn in a strategic way. But then, I haven’t looked for it. Have seen tons written on the same topic as it relates to Twitter.

  5. […] has its place, but it’s not the best way to promote your expertise online. Bill Sledzik has a great post regarding better ways to boost your professional cred online. Julia Roy has a new episode of Tweet […]

  6. I think you should change your blog banner to a dead deer, just for day lol!

    The issue, Bill, is that Linked In is, more than anything, a recruiters tool. They’re the ones who fund the website and so, what you’ve ended up with is, as you point out, a glorified resume. Still, it IS the closest thing to the social media resume, a topic that has caught some fire under it’s ass as of late. This is where the cool folks are separating from the pack (I know that my Linked In profile had alot to do with me getting hired where I’m at right now, because I took the initiative to network with senior folks from the organization before my interview).

    Linked In is getting better– they’ve added a few applications, including the blog app that let’s viewers see the person’s last few posts.

    I have my own views on FB, but that’s best left for another conversation.

  7. I use LinkedIn to document my professional relationships AND professional acquaintances and Facebook for my personal and business friends. LinkedIn is a business tool – I use it to connect with those I don’t know but would like to meet or gain from their expertise (for example I found a wonderful Kent State grad in a LinkedIn Alumni group to help me frame and answer a thorny tech question). I use Facebook as way of staying in touch with friends and keeping them up to date on my goings-on. Both are useful, but I certainly like that they are distinct and separate.

  8. Hi Bill, I don’t think you’re giving LI enough credit. Here’s an example. One of my best students ever wants to move from Tampa to DC. She has few professional connections there, but has some friends to room with, so her “challenge” is finding a job. She’s totally connected in FL, but not DC.

    She does her research on the kinds of agencies where she’d like to work and comes to me for advice. She has no connections there — I do (mostly people who don’t have FB accounts). I send a quick note to my LI friends in DC, who all respond quickly, asking for her resume, or providing an HR contact, or both. That’s part one. Few of these upper-level contacts have FB, but are on LI.

    Part Two. She has some other targets in mind, but I don’t have contacts to them. Through LI, I can either work my connections to get to them, or send them a direct message. The Prof. card is usually enough to get them to respond. She targeted one really big agency, I tracked the managing director down on LI, sent a short e-mail informing her that I had a star student headed to DC, and about 2 hours later, my student had an interview lined up.

    The value I place on LI is that it makes it much easier to connect or get connected to larger numbers of business professionals than through FB. I’m happy to have a more serious social media site that doesn’t include all the people I went to high school with or every student I’ve had under the age of 25.

    Plus, there are simply a lot of business professionals that I’ve worked with over the years who I’ve lost touch with who are on LI. If they are business contacts, I don’t need to know their favorite movies or see their vacation to the beach pics. But, I do need to make some kind of professional transaction with them and LI works really well for that.

    Actually, I hope your well-argued blog keeps the FB masses from mucking up the LI waters.

    Later,
    Bob

    P.S. Shankman’s persuasive and has done some interesting social media things, but don’t you think he’s a bit of a kool-aid sipper at this point as he transitions from publicist to social media guru?

  9. Bill Sledzik says:

    Bob: You make a good case for how LI can be used for networking. I’m clearly influenced by the need for social media to also entertain me. LI does not.🙂

    To your last question: Absolutely.

  10. Jeff Davis says:

    I’m reading a lot of comments about LI as a personal connection and career development tool, but it also works for business development. Just over a year ago we were hired by an association in Washington, D.C. that located us via my profile on LinkedIn.

  11. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jeff. The evidence against me continues to pile up. Can’t deny that LI is a great place for recruiters to find candidates and candidates to find recruiters. But it’s not an easy place to stand out — you know — to separate yourself from the pack.

  12. Judy Gombita says:

    Sorry, think you are way off base with this dump-on-LinkedIn post, Bill. Why are you looking for it to be a Facebook? Particularly as LinkedIn has been around a lot longer. (As someone in the beta group, I can tell you it’s in its ninth year.)

    Just like Twitter, LinkedIn is what you make it. You think the endorsements suck? Me, I’m very touched and pleased that individuals have volunteered to speak to my strengths and been willing to put their personal and organizational name behind the endorsement.

    Making connections? I connected someone from Canada’s Privacy Commission with someone from the Victoria (Australia) Privacy Commission, because of a request I saw on a LinkedIn Group for information from other countries. That was satisfying. More satisfying was getting to meet the individual in question when I travelled to Melbourne, Australia. We talked, we lunched, we conversed, we laughed. We’ve continued to keep in touch. (Plans are in the works for a guest post from him on PR Conversations.) Wouldn’t have known or met the valued colleague/now friend if it wasn’t for LinkedIn.

    Speaking of taking the initiative, I connected with a colleague from Edmonton, Alberta via LinkedIn, and we’ve worked to set up a Canadian Public Relations Society (members only) LinkedIn Group. It continues to grow, with members and content. None of it is “official,” simply two members seeing an opportunity on a free platform.

    (And I disagree with you, Brandon, that LinkedIn is a recruiters’ platform. Recruiters may make good use of it–heck, a gym pal certainly does–but it’s original mandate/purpose was a BUSINESS networking platform. It’s mentioned in Work the Pond as such.)

    But what do I know? Still haven’t set up a Facebook account. Why? Must be because my personal socializing is done (mainly) face-to-face. (Go figure.)🙂

  13. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks, Judy. I’m taking some pretty good shots on this one, and it would seem that I deserve them. I don’t have a need for the networking that LinkedIn provides, so I’ve never attempted to use it.

    What might have been more appropriate — instead of this post — is a sub-140 character tweet that reads: “LinkedIn bores me to tears. Just sayin’.”

  14. amymengel says:

    I’d be interested to hear a recruiter or HR staffing person weigh in here. There are so many laws and regulations regarding hiring, equal opportunity, discrimination, etc. Linkedin Profiles are generally pretty clean. You’re going to get a person’s resume, a thumbnail picture, and some overblown recommendations that I think most people know to take with a grain of salt.

    Facebook profiles contain a lot more personal information – the kind that most HR people probably don’t want to know, and aren’t legally allowed to ask in an interview. Things like age, marital status, kids, causes, political affiliations. Obviously staffers and recruiters are not supposed to let that type of information bias them, but once you know, you can’t un-know.

    I like keeping my LinkedIn for professional use and Facebook as a place for my friends and family.

  15. Judy, have you ever been to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and seen the Members line? Regular, every day patrons, in the dead of winter, are standing outside like herded cattle while Members stroll in, line and frost free. My point: money talks, even in the social media space.

  16. Judy Gombita says:

    Not getting your analogy, Brandon, between ROM members and the LinkedIn experience. Yes there is a Premium version of LinkedIn membership, but I don’t pay for it. Don’t feel like I have a cold nose pressed up against the glass looking in, either.

    Maybe many recruiters do pay for it. So what? I know some marcomm consultants/agency types who pay for Premium membership, too. That’s each person’s perogative. Like I said before, LinkedIn is what you make it. So if it bores Bill and offends you (with its seemingly overt recruitment overtones)…don’t go. Take down your account. But why you feel the need to diss it or marginalize its usefulness is mystifying.

  17. Jenn Mattern says:

    Brandon, maybe you can clarify for the rest of us, but I’m not quite sure what money has to do with the business networking capabilities of LinkedIn (or any other service for that matter) and the fact that it’s significantly more than a recruitment tool.

    Bill, as someone who rarely comes to the defense of the glorified forums social networks often become, I think you might be a bit off-base on this one.

    LinkedIn has value in the social networking game because it’s one of the most successful targeted networks out there (much as Myspace used to be predominantly for musicians and Facebook for students). The way their features are setup, it really is a “make it your own” kind of network. For some, it works for finding jobs or clients. Others can use it in hiring. Then there are folks who use it to network with or meet colleagues. Some use the recommendations (personally, I’d give them about the same amount of weight as a recommendation letter asked of someone when you know they’ll have positive things to say). And for me, it’s convenient simply as a professional Q&A service over the general options like Yahoo! Answers littered with kiddies asking how to ask out that cute boy or girl in class.

    In other words, enough of the features can be used independently to make it worth a look. So I’d agree that you do deserve a few shots on this one – but it was worth it for the amusing photo.😉

  18. Bill Sledzik says:

    Some months back I signed up for about 5 PR groups on LI, but left all of them pretty quickly. Just didn’t find any value. Most who posted to the groups were advertising something or were out-of-work PR types fishing for job leads. Could be that those who’ve rushed to social media in the past 12-18 months don’t yet understand the culture of online discussion.

    It sounds as though Judy has found real value in the forums. Maybe I should look to see there she’s hangin’ out. I can tell you it’s probably not any of the PRSA discussion groups.

  19. Don’t get me wrong, I use LI and enjoy it. My point is that it is funded by paying customers who happen to be (primarily) recruiters. Whether or not you subscribe to it, Judy, the fact is that because LI is funded by recruiters, it must be a recruitment tool. Yes, it’s much more, too– a social networking platform, a job board, etc. I’ve noticed the same thing Bill has– invaluable group discussions (and I’m a member of more than a dozen groups) and a tonne of advertisement.

    Does LI work for me? Sure it does. I’ve met dozens of great professionals at events and such, and LI has given me a platform to reconnect. Still, I interact much more with these folks on Twitter, blog posts, and via phone and email than I do on Linked In.

    And, for the record, I am strongly against Facebook and am probably the only social media savvy 24 year old on the planet who doesn’t have, nor ever had, an account. That’s another discussion, though.

  20. Judy Gombita says:

    Can you point me to one or more valid sources of information on your “recruiter-funded” claim, Brandon? Or is it purely speculation on your part?

    And Bill’s experience with discussion groups apparently is also crap, so you are not aligned with him on this, as you wrote above that you find them “invaluable.”

    Bill, you can’t join the CPRS Group because it is members only. Of which you are not. Some of my other LinkedIn Groups also require prior affiliation (University of Toronto, Ryerson University, LERN, etc.). So I guess you are SOL there, too.

    I think you should just take down your boring LinkedIn account and stick to posting photos of your “kills” etc. on Facebook.🙂

  21. @johncarson says:

    Hey Bill,

    Shame to hear you call LI “lame” — as a member since the beta days, I certainly don’t take myself seriously … but I do use LI seriously.

    Here’s how:

    1) I update my profile and status updates on a regular basis. Not an ego kick — I have garnered business leads from some of my updates asking for experts in certain fields, especially for my PR work.

    2) I ask and answer a lot of questions in the Q&A section. You’d be amazed at the credentials of some of the people who take a few minutes to respond = a gold mine of knowledge right there, scrolling across the screen. For free.

    3) I am totally transparent. My real name and photo is there. I have links to my blog(s) (yes, I have a couple), my freelance website (yes, there are writing samples, clients I have done work for, testimonials, proof), comments in my social media blog. Anything else you need? Feel free to tweet me and I will be more than happy to provide you more info.

    4) I found my current role using LI, getting to know the company first before I even met them. As a former journalist, I know how to research people and situations before I move forward.

    I think my portrait is quite “likable” actually. (I use Facebook for my trips to the pub, thanks, not finding work.)

    I hope that clears up why LI is not lame. Feel free to add me as a connection and I can educate you some more if you wish.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/johncarson

    Cheers,
    John Carson

  22. Last time I comment, because I’m flooding and this is getting, as Bill’s picture so appropriately conveys, lame.

    First, I meant NOT valuable, not invaluable. Though I’m sure you got that.

    Read this interview with Konstantin Guericke, the founder of Linked In, and tell me that the service doesn’t have a HUGE reliance on recruiters http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060410_185842.htm

  23. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks to Brandon for the clarification. And thanks to John for the invitation to connect on LI.

    I learned from this post that a lot of folks love LinkedIn for the networking opportunities it offers. I also learned that many of you aren’t ready to let Facebook bleed over into your professional lives. That decision will become tougher to enforce as more and more of your business contacts want to become “freindz.”

    As for me — I’m of the same mind as when I wrote this post last week. I still find LinkedIn dull and have yet to find value in the group discussions. But since I’m already over-connected, it’s unlikely I’ll be doing any more exploring on of the network.

    I’m not looking for a job or consulting work, but plan to leave my LinkedIn profile in place — just in case. You never know when a university recruiter might call to offer me a tenured faculty position with a six-figure salary and a view of the Rockies.

    I can dream.

  24. Alan Stamm says:

    Bill:

    From Detroit, a fourth reader raises his hand to endorse the value of selective (key word, that) participation on both sides of professional Q&A exchanges. I’ve received practical info for my independent PR consultancy . . . and try to share productively with counterparts around the country and occasionally beyond.

    And oh yes, here’s one topic head you missed last week on the PRSA National group discussion forum:

    Provocative post by PRSA veteran Bill Sledzik:
    ‘Are social media changing the DNA of public relations? Not one bit!’ D i s c u s s

    However, as if to support your skepticism even before it was posted, that drew just one comment — though the assistant professor at Texas Weslean U. who posted it began: “I agree.”

  25. Andrea Sluga says:

    Bill,

    Enjoyed this post a lot.

    Considering you frame LI as useless (or at least not as good a personal branding tool as FB), thought you might find it interesting to hear about another perspective from my online social media instructor.

    On our first day of class in January, she told us that if we didn’t already have a LI account, we’d be wise to do so fast, touting it as one of the best networking tools out there right now.

    For the record, I’ve had an LI account since August, but I still don’t have a complete profile and I am not particularly active on it. Then again, who is really?

    The funny part to all of this is that the dozens of students who rushed to create LI profiles are the same ones now grumbling that it is pointless.

  26. Erin Burry says:

    Hi Bill!

    As a student trying to make contacts and build networks, I do not see the point in LinkedIn. It seems to bee too one-way to truly build professional relationships. It’s just too structured.

    Instead of using the boring, generic, anyone-can-do-it LinkedIn, I say people should really show off their skills through an online resume and/or portfolio that they created themselves. I can write about my credentials all day in social media, Web development, public relations, etc., but I think employers are more impressed with “hard-copy” evidence.

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about making my Facebook employer-friendly, though. I think that blogs are a better place to bring in personality while still maintaining a professional image.

  27. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks to Andrea and Erin for the validation, but I’ve become convinced by the LinkedIn faithful here that the network does have value — provided you use it to your advantage. I haven’t done that, but perhaps you can.

    Could be that LI has greater value to seasoned professionals. Bob Batchelor uses it to connect his best students to his business contacts that he tracks on LinkedIn. Jenn Mattern, who runs a small writing business, uses LI groups to seek answers and input on business questions. John Carson uses it to research people before he meets them. Judy Gombita, who networks as well as anyone I know, uses it to connect people and resources.

    These are all valid points, leading me to the simple conclusion that LinkedIn is what you make it. I have chosen to make little of it. That may not be the best thing for a student seeking a job.

    Erin, I agree that blogs are an excellent place to display your value as a person and professional. So do it — and pay particular attention to the quality of writing. That’s what employers will see first.

    But employers are more likely to search LI and Facebook (vs. blogs) for information on job candidates. As for making FB “employer friendly,” it’s not that tough. But you have to decide first if you want to expand your Facebook community into your business life. I believe it’s beneficial to do that, as you can see a more human side of your contacts. You’ll need to tone down the outrageous statements (“Did 12 shots of Yager last night”) and eliminate things that might offend (like the earlier example about my NRA membership). And run a search for tags to be sure someone hasn’t published a compromising photo linked back to you. And if you see a photo that might be misinterpreted, as the person to take it down.

    No, I still don’t like LinkedIn, and I still place no stock in the endorsements people post there. But people I know and respect have convinced me that I’m not 100% right all of the time. It was quite a revelation. 🙂

  28. marketingsociologist says:

    Wow, I love this post.

    Can anyone tell me why – in this economy with all the laid off journalists – employers are selecting freshly graduated, little experience when they can hire MBAs, 30+ years experience?

    As for Twitter, Linkedin, HARO, etc., do people with REAL jobs have time to use these social media? Then again, I saw the weekly report – around another 600,000 filed new unemployment claims this week. If you go back to when the recession started in 2007 and multiply that 600,000 by weeks, aren’t there like a zillion people unemployed now – all looking for work on Linkedin?

  29. Bill Sledzik says:

    I can speculate on your question:

    1) Newly minted grads who display a strong work ethic can pay for themselves quickly. They work hard, and they work for a third of what the seasoned MBA expect to be paid. Yes, I know a lot of the unemployed folks will work for less, but when the economy comes around they’ll be out the door. Employers know that.

    2) Ageism. There’s an assumption that we old farts don’t understand the new wave of communication ushered in by Web 2.0. I sure a lot of readers of this blog think that about me. But I also think there’s some validity to the assumption. Most of my contacts on every social network except LinkedIn are quite a bit younger than I. The 40+ folks I know are only now testing the interactive digital world. That puts them way behind the curve.

    Where do people find the time for all this networking? We work ALL THE TIME. I just completed 3 15-hour work days this week, much of it offline teaching classes and doing the business of Kent State. So when I got home each night, I fired up the MacBook and spent 3 or so hours tending to my online “family.” In case you’re wondering, my wife also works crazy hours and is content to watch “Top Chef” while I cavort about online.

    That’s how it’s happening. Not saying it’s a good thing. Me? I enjoy the stimulation of conversations with thoughtful people in this space. Hell, I even like the arguments. As for those who seem constantly on Twitter — they’re either using it to support their businesses and reputations, or they have no life and have yet to discover NetFlix.

  30. Shel Holtz says:

    Some months ago, I attended a session by Chuck Hester on how to use LinkedIn. I’ve been a fairly active user, but this session was still an eye-opener. I guess “lame” is in the eye of the beholder, and tools like this become less lame the more you know how to extract value from them. For me, since listening to Chuck, I’ve been getting even more out of LinkedIn.

  31. Judy Gombita says:

    “Judy Gombita, who networks as well as anyone I know, uses it to connect people and resources.”

    Hey there, Bill, was wondering if you’d care to write a LinkedIn endorsement for me, stating something along those lines! [insert dreaded smiley emoticon here]

    Actually, just wanted to say that you’ve been very gracious in wrapping up this post (who knew it would provoke such debate and comments, online and off!) in indicating that you could be somewhat persuaded that LinkedIn has uses for others, even if not for you. Yet.

  32. Bill Sledzik says:

    I learned a lot from this, Judy. But I still spend some time each day thinking of ways to become LESS connected in this world. While I love being part of a larger community of PR and communication professionals, tending to those relationships is time consuming, and as we all know, somewhat addictive.

    So for now, LinkedIn will be one of those networks I don’t spend time with — at least until the provost eliminates my job!

  33. I visited your blog, specifically because I saw reference to it on LI. I’m a marketing guy, in my late fifties. I’ve been on LI and FB for a number of years. I have proof that LI works, as a I’ve been contacted by a number of companies over the past couple of years and hired for projects. They liked what they saw in my profile, and they were impressed by my recommendations.

    Despite your dismissal of recommendations, they do work. They work just like fully attributed testimonials work in brochures and websites. Everyone knows that a company would never run a bad testimonial, but most people can’t help but read a testimonial and not be slightly influenced. (It only works when a real name and company are attached.) I know that you are not influenced by such things, anymore than the 90% of the public who claim advertising doesn’t influence them in the least. If no one is influenced, why do the biggest advertisers dominate the market?

    You might consider why people visit my profile. They often visit because I go into the Answers area of LI and see what questions I can help with. Just like with face-to-face networking, the successful people are the people willing to help others.

    A couple of your readers mentioned that it all takes too much time. If they want to succeed they should get off their duffs and get working at their success. Using LI for business networking takes a lot less time than live, face-to-face networking.

    I suggest, if you want to succeed in business, consider LI part of your marketing mix. A least those of you not in cozy tenured positions should do so.

  34. Dave Sutula says:

    LinkedIn has its shortcomings, Bill. No social media app can be all things to all people, that’s for sure. Especially in a moment in time when new SM sites are pooping up on a daily basis and the masses hop from one to the other like the latest hot night club. The come into and fall from fashion pretty quickly.

    LinkedIn, though does have one huge advantage to any other SM Site. It is purely professional-based. In other words, it’s not about what you’re doing at the moment, nor what sort of crazy shit you and your pals got into over the weekend. it’s about what people do for a living. Why is this an advantage?

    It’s not, really. Unless you are in any sort of sales or business development role. The business development team in my studio generated cold-call leads that resulted in $752K in business in 2008. That’s a real number that we tabulated just to measure – in real dollars – the power of just one sms used to its potential.

  35. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks, Keith. Was that a shot, or are you envious? Be well, man. I am seriously tired of this thread.

  36. I wouldn’t give up running my own small business for any position in any organization, no matter the pay scale.🙂

    You may be tired of the thread, but it was a good one.

    Cheers.

  37. Bill Sledzik says:

    Sorry, Keith. My comment sounded flip, and I didn’t mean it that way. You and others who commented have shown me that LinkedIn has a place in the “business/professional” realm. And since I prepare people to enter that world, I need to be a mindful of the role LinkedIn can play in their futures.

    As for self employment, I understand how you feel. Did it myself for 5 years and, other than teaching, it was the most rewarding time of my professional life. It paid a helluva lot more, too!

  38. I waffle on LinkedIn (as well as Twitter and some of my other social media accounts). LI still has a fighting chance, I truly believe, and did make Monster and CareerBuilder come to Jesus. So there you go.

    I *heart* Facebook, but it’s just not where I conduct any quote-unquote professional business. So maybe I put some heart and soul back into LinkedIn. To be honest, I should pay the most attention to LinkedIn WHILE I’m gainfully employed and/or have a full stable of clients, versus desparately seeking sustenance.

    I will say that social media, at least in my feeble mind, has rendered the standard resume and cover letter all but useless. Hmm. No, I take that back. It has transformed it. Just not everybody has caught up.

    Lastly, Plaxo users: leave me alone.

  39. saritpery says:

    Allow me to disagree…
    LI and FB serve 2 different aspects. When I want to do business I look for the person in LI, and after I found what I want professionaly I’ll go to FB to learn some more.
    The good part for me is that my main working tool is the quiet LI and not the noisy annoying FB.
    It’s true you have to know how to write a good LI profile that will reflect your personality.
    It’s true that you have to know how to use LI wisely in order to act stratigically towards finding the right business opportunities (BTW, I run a workshop currently in Israel only on “how to get business deals using LI” and I see the amazing results my customers get).
    Have a wonderful day,
    – Sarit
    p.s: enter my website to receive tips for effective LI profile.

  40. […] for online self-promotion. I’ve shared some of my thoughts on Twitter, and tend to agree with My Old Man on LinkedIn. But to me, Facebook is […]

  41. Ruth Seeley says:

    I’ve never had anyone ask me for a recommendation on LinkedIn and yet I’ve given them whenever I felt inspired to do so.

    And when I see a user experience analyst with connections to all the top software firms in town and 18 recommendations, I pay attention. Because regardless of whether the recommendations were solicited or not, they’re both very public and quite sincere. And frankly if soliciting a recommendation were such a terrible thing, we wouldn’t have any case studies, would we?

  42. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks, Ruth. And point taken. But how’s this for irony. My wife, a CPA and tax manager, got her first invitation to join LI. Based on what I’ve learned from you and others, I told her she should jump in with both feet. Could be good for business.

    I may even help her — you know — add a little “attitude” to the profile. That’s my specialty.🙂

  43. Ruth Seeley says:

    I’m delighted to see you’re so open-minded, Bill, and more than that, so willing to change your opinion based on feedback. If it’s any consolation to you, I brightly informed my cousin at Christmastime that Einstein invented the lightbulb. Miraculously (although he did get a good laugh), he still thinks I’m one of the smart ones in the family.🙂 (Mutters, well it was SOMEONE whose last name started with an ‘e’ – don’t bother me with details!)

  44. John Ettorre says:

    Hi Bill. This post represents one of the rare times I’ve fundamentally disagreed with you. I think LI is a tremendously powerful tool, and I and many others can point to dozens of cases in which it’s gotten people not only jobs but well-paying projects. One of your blind spots here, I think, is that you fail to think about the huge cohort group who choose not to be employees of someone else, and who thus must make their own rain. Tina Brown has lately dubbed this the Gig Economy. By whatever name they go, these folks need to be in front of as many of the right people as possible, reminding them of their abilities, successes and capabilities. Done properly, Linkedin is a uniquely wonderful way to do that.

    But it’s much more. It’s also a way for me to easily and quickly leverage my network for the benefit of my friends who are in transition and looking for their next job. As for the quality of the recommendations, these too are impossible to categorize broadly. Lots of people ask me to recommend them, but I do it only when I think they’ve earned it and I can say something positive about them. And I know other serious professionals feel the same way, so when I read an endorsement by one of those people I take seriously, I also trust their recommendations, because I trust the thinking behind it. This virtual recommendation system works just like in the non-virtual world: the quality of what’s being said depends wholly on the reputation of the person doing the recommending.

  45. Colin Morris says:

    The few times I’ve heard mentor-types (professors trying to help students get jobs, out-of-touch sales stiffs at luncheons, etc.) ask me if I’m on LinkedIn or talk about what a great tool it is, some part of me just turns off. It’s a crock. Glad to hear we’re on the same page.

    That said, I can’t tease my dad too much for using it. He says he finds a lot of forums about topics not only relevant but impactful to his industry and hashes them out with other pros. Depending on your field, LinkedIn forums may fill a void where industry Websites fail to open the floor.

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