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TechTips: what is LinkedIn anyway, and why the hell should I give a damn?

Social & Digital

TechTips: what is LinkedIn anyway, and why the hell should I give a damn?


It may disturb you to know that right now there may be imposters out
there, all over the world, giving you a bad name. Or in some cases a
good name.

I thought that my name was fairly unusual until a quick Google
search revealed the shocking truth – Im not alone. In fact, I’m a
mild-mannered meteorologist in Philadelphia and a soul musician in New
York City. Closer to home it appears I am a past president of the
Australian Sceptics Society, although I struggle to believe that’s
true. But best of all, I am the casting director of my favourite TV
programme, the medical series House. Surely that’s worth a few Vicodin.

Behind this apparent narcissism of mine is a serious point about searching and being found.

I recently set up a profile on LinkedIn, described by the New York Times
as he social network for professionals. A few months ago LinkedIn
received US$53 million in venture financing, which bumped up its market
valuation to around US$1 billion.

A quick people search revealed 14 listings for Adam Joseph. Ten of
these doppelgangers live in the United States, two live in London, one
in Amsterdam but there is only one of me in the Southern Hemisphere.
Half the world to myself – hmmm, I reckon my ego can handle that.    

But what exactly is the point of joining LinkedIn?

On the websites home page there is a blog by Guy Kawasaki on the Ten ways to use LinkedIn.

I think his list is a bit padded-out so I’ve condensed it into five suggestions I think are the most useful for marketers:

  1. Chance
    In my opinion the killer app of LinkedIn is that it apparently helps
    to boost your Google page ranking when someone types in your name
    trying to find you. In this way, it’s a form of simple Search Engine
    Optimisation. By being LinkedIn you boost your chances of coming up
    high in the organic listings.

  2. Credentials
    LinkedIn can act as a form of virtual CV, giving an executive biography
    of the career history you’d like others to see. Of course, this is open
    to abuse by name squatters – I found four Rupert Murdoch listings on
    LinkedIn, but I suspect my bosses bosses boss did not personally enter
    janitor or owner: telly about himself.

  3. Connections
    The number of connections you have might be seen as a type of status
    symbol. It can show how well connected you are and how far and wide
    your professional network extends – like MySpace, but for friends
    read professional connections. In fact, you can think of it as a
    supersized virtual Rolodex.

  4. Checking
    I confess right now that I have an innate sense of curiosity – a polite
    way of saying I’m bloody nosey. Prior to meeting people, whether a
    potential business partner, potential supplier or potential recruit – I
    like to find out a bit more about them. If they are LinkedIn, I can do
    so. If not, I wonder why not? Why are they hiding?!

  5. Competition
    My nosiness naturally extends to what the competition is up to.
    LinkedIn allows you to see who is listed from rival companies and what
    your counterparts want to say about themselves. Of course, if they’re
    not listed or don’t have many connections you can assume they are sad
    and lonely in their professional lives.

I think LinkedIn will ultimately be successful as a business
networking and reference tool because it effectively taps into the
human condition. For me personally, LinkedIn is a new toy and I’m still
playing with it.

If youd like to find out more about LinkedIn, Id encourage you to
watch the two short videos below. CommonCraft always deliver really
digestible and easy short videos that help to make things even clearer.
The first part is an overview of what LinkedIn is and thesecond video is all about how LinkedIn works.

If you liked this post you might also consider reading some more TechTips posts,
a series dedicated to demystifying technology and making technology
work harder for marketers. If youre a marketer and you use a specific
technology, tell us about it and write your own guide to help marketers
save time.


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