LinkedOut | April 17, 2006
A couple of years ago when social software was all the rage, a friend recommended I joined LinkedIn. The idea was based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation and allowed you to make new contacts through your existing group of friends and colleagues. For this to work you obviously had to sign up everybody you knew, so I spent the next couple of weeks trawling through my contacts list and growing my network. At the end of process I was pleased by the number of cool people I knew and how I was only a couple of steps away from Jeffrey Zeldman.
Every now and then somebody I knew would ask to get connected, to which I’d dutifully comply. Occasionally somebody I didn’t know asked to get connected, to which I’d politely decline. A couple of times I noticed spikes, where a bunch of people obviously just discovered LinkedIn and started adding contacts, often related to some kind of conference or event. However apart from adding the odd contact, I never actually used the service. In fact I never quite understood the usefulness of the application.
A couple of times I wanted to contact friends of friends, but rather than using LinkedIn I’d just email the friends and ask for an introduction. If I wanted to contact somebody else I’d just contact them through their blogs or company sites rather than searching for them on LinkedIn to see if there was a connection. Even if there was, I’d probably contact them directly rather than going through a two or three step process.
The only time I’ve been contacted by somebody on LinkedIn has been by friends asking if they could connect to one of my other friends. The weird thing is, most of the times these people already knew the person in quuestion, and undoubtedly had their email or could get it off their website.
Since SXSW there has been a new flurry of activity, with lots of cool people asking if I’d like to get connected. If you’re one of those people I apologize for not responding to you, but I’ve been considering unsubscribing from LinkedIn as I really just don’t see the point. However before I do unsubscribe, I was wondering if anybody has actually found any value in the service apart from generating a warm glow from how many cool people they know or how many steps away from Jeffrey Zeldman they are?
Posted at April 17, 2006 8:00 PM