Here's the Scoop: January 4, 2012

It’s all about Connections
Are you Linkedin? You should be. I think.

If you are Linkedin, then you know that you are a member of “The world’s largest professional network.” And, it’s pretty big — with more than 135 million members. If you aren’t really aware of Linkedin and feel like you’ve missed the boat, don’t be too worried, there’s still plenty of time to stop being the Missing Link(edin).

Basically, Linkedin is kind of like Facebook for business folks — although it’s rare to read a posting of what someone had for breakfast. Or, to learn the exciting personal news that an associate is “in a relationship.”

Nope, Linkedin is pretty much all business. As the promotional information states, Linkedin is the place for you to “Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.” Or, you can simply see how many friends, I mean “connections,” you can make in the business world.

Hey, we all want to have a bunch of work. At least enough to keep the bills paid and provide for three or four months of winter downtime on a warm, sunny island. That’s my goal anyhow.
As a result, I have become quite fascinated with Linkedin. Some might use the term “obsessed” to describe my Linkedin behavior. The people who say this are merely jealous of my high number of connections.

Not that easy
Making connections on Linkedin takes some work. You can’t simply “add” all 135 million members and call them business associates. Nope. The potential connections have to click their approval of your invitation to connect.

That part is similar to Facebook, but you also are often asked how you know the “connection” you’re trying to make. When this question is posed, I always want to reply, “None of your business,” but, I don’t think that’s a listed option.

I first learned about Linkedin a few years ago when a friend sent me an invitation to join. I ignored it. Every now and then I would get an e-mail reminder that I had not responded to this request. Finally, I caved and signed up for the program.

Flattered by invites
Over time, I received a trickle of other invitations. On occasion, I would look at my profile. It was incomplete and my connections were embarrassingly few. One day, I decided to finish my profile. Then, I wondered: “If a profile has been filled out, and there’s no one there to see it, does it make any noise?”

So, I started sending a few invitations to folks on the “People you may know” list provided by Linkedin. Most of them did approved. It was fun. I was hooked.
“I’m up to 35 connections,” I proudly announced to my wife after a few days of furiously sending invites.

As the weeks went by, I would periodically provide connection update milestones. “I’m over 200!” I reported. Then, I added, “And some of these connections are people I actually know.”

My wife was puzzled by this last statement. “It’s networking,” I explained. “I hope to know these people. Work with them, some time.”

She was skeptical. “Isn’t that kind of like Barry Bonds breaking the home run record through the benefits of steroids?” she responded.

“Maybe those drugs made him stronger, but he still had to make a lot of ‘connections’ to hit the ball out of the park,” I explained.
— Brian Sweeney