What’s this LinkedIn thing?

The past couple of months I’ve been harassing my friends and former colleagues with something that could be deemed spam by some. For this I apologise. Even if rushed it was with good intentions.

I first got an invite to LinkedIn by my former master thesis supervisor. Usually sceptic to such online networking «schemes» I was this time caught by the flow, maybe because I was unemployed and with too much spare time. Too much spare time to «collect coke caps» as a friend formulated it.

I still hold that it might have a function, and that the way it is done with LinkedIn might prove useful to me. Also the fact that I rapidly found a couple of former colleagues already registered in the system weighed in. That is when I decided to e-mail close to one hundred of my contacts in one go.

So what is LinkedIn? It’s a tool to maintain a database of your professional network. This can be in order to keep in touch with past colleagues and to find jobs or contacts through your network. I found some other reasons to read about too. There are some hints on usage in that link, but I’ll summarize my own thoughts too.

  1. Avoid creating two accounts.
    The system works badly if you have some contact relations on one account and some on another. Plus there is little likelihood that you’ll keep both «profiles» updated. The way to avoid creation of duplicate accounts is to make sure you add all past (even if you do/can’t use them anymore) and current e-mail addresses. This also means that if someone you know uploads their address book with an other address than your main one, they will still see that you’re available on LinkedIn.
    If you have created a second account you have to write LinkedIn support in order to delete it.
  2. Upload your address book(s).
    This way you can quickly see which of your friends are already registered. It is a lot easier asking those who already are to link up. Plus it is much easier than entering all the e-mails and names yourself. The other side of this is that if some of those addresses uploaded should sign-up to LinkedIn at a later stage (before you’ve added them) you’ll know through your LinkedIn homepage.
    You can import from most e-mail programs and webmails – instructions provided by LinkedIn.
  3. Write personal invites.
    If you really do wish for people to accept your invitations you should write personal text in the invite messages. At least for those contacts that haven’t already registered with LinkedIn. Explaining briefly what LinkedIn is and why you think they should sign up, is a good idea.

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