If you do not currently know what LinkedIn is, or have a LinkedIn account, I suggest it. Why? Because it’s basically a professional version of facebook. It keeps your business and corporate contacts fresh in your mind, and keeps you fresh in theirs. It allows for quick networking. … For example, if you are trying to make a contact at Google’s corporate office, you are able to search for people who work there and see what connections you both have. Holy moly, your old boss is connected to someone? Send your old boss an email asking him to make the connection for you and BAM, you have you a meeting!
Pros: * There won’t be 100 picture photo albums of your coworkers new kitten * You can easily outline your professional experience for others to browse * Digital Networking, while markedly less effective than face-to-face, is easy * It’s a great way to keep in touch with connections you’ve made and let slip in the past * No more business card binders!
Cons: * It may remove your desire to go out and do regular, very effective, networking * There are still super creeps (see below story)
A few weeks ago I woke up to a LinkedIn connection request from a man whose name did not ring a bell. I opened the website’s app on my phone in order to do some research on who this guy is and he was nice enough to write me a message because, apparently, he knew I’d be confused by his request. He informed me that he came across my picture and “fell for my smile” and wanted to know if I wanted to get to know him better. He is around 70, lives in Hawaii and has NO connections in common with me. So, yeah…that still happens. Even on a professionally based social network platform, people will still use it as a dating service.
Bottom Line: Be professional; Use professionally; Keep it updated and truthful. Rating: 5 sweet potatoes…or maybe half a sweet potato pie…