To Linkedin, Or NOT To Linkedin…

To each their own. That’s a common saying I believe, in many ways, needs to be accepted a little more in today’s society. Politics, religion, lifestyle. For many of us in the social media community and anyone with a brain, it’s no one’s bees-wax what social media site you should choose or don’t choose. If you’re not feelin’ it, you’re not feelin’ it. I totally get it.

Every once in a while, though, don’t you find yourself or someone else “missing the mark” with a great opportunity they gave up? Chris Brogan is one of the titans of tech, social media, and blogging. I read every blog entry and value his comprehensive knowledge of his industry. In reading his blog post from May 21, however, I got the sensation even Chris missed the mark this time.

It’s been said ad nauseum Linkedin is the go-to social networking site for professionals trying to grow their online brand, connect with people in their industry, and contribute to the discussion through updates, Groups, and personal interactions, among other great features. Maximizing your personal brand on Linkedin takes time. It takes commitment. Not everyone necessarily feels they have that kind of time. It’s just unfortunate we, including myself, don’t spend as many hours on Linkedin as Facebook, Twitter, or our blog. Just think of the benefit and production resulting from that kind of consistent care!

Chris cancelled his Linkedin profile. I know what you’re saying, “OOOOOOH, so what. He cancelled his account. No big deal. It’s not worth a blog post about it.” I think it is. It’s not about Chris HIMSELF cancelling his account. Sure, we’re adults. We can make our own decisions. But we call Chris Brogan an influencer for a reason. It’s about people just like me who listen to Chris, value what he says, and consider his actions for their own.

Now, my aim certainly isn’t to nit-pick Chris’s reasons for cancelling, but I hear these issues a LOT when talk of Linkedin comes around. “I don’t have the time.” “It hasn’t done anything for me.” “I don’t understand it.” In my book, that’s not good enough when it comes to a social media site that can do so much if given the attention. You rarely hear someone deleting their Facebook or Twitter profiles because “it didn’t do anything for me,” especially when they’ve been investing in those sites regularly. I believe Linkedin, if given the same dedication, can become a major benefit to one’s online brand. In my opinion, Chris’s following four points are less-than-positive precedents to set for the legions of people investing in him as an influencer.

User-Interface Breakdown:

Chris mentions he had problems with the “Agree To Connect” button from contacts asking to connect. The UI wouldn’t allow him to confirm connections. I understand the frustration. It’s one of the primary functions of Linkedin, pressing the “Agree To Connect” button with followers and create an online relationship. It is not, in my opinion, enough to up and cancel your account. If you, Dear Reader, are having a tough time with a Linkedin tool, widget, or other feature, it’s not hard to contact Linkedin, explain the situation, and work with them to fix it. Your account is much too valuable a resource to outright cancel simply because of a wonky button. Facebook has crazy-ridiculous interface issues all the time, but we don’t kill our accounts because of it.

“It hasn’t done much for me and my business.”

Has Chris (or yourself) actually TRIED? I don’t mean “tried” as in a 5 year-old “trying” to eat his peas at dinner. We’re talking about truly investing time in reaching out, connecting, and contributing his vast knowledge of digital media, tech, and blogging to his connections and the Groups to which he belongs. It’s amazing what a few valuable words can do to draw attention to you and your business. An individual, or a business, might see your excellent point or philosophy, ping you, then propose a business opportunity. There are a million ways to maximize connections on Linkedin. You just have to give an honest and CONSISTENT try.

“Me? Maybe I’m using it wrong.”

The only way to use it wrong is to not use it at all. This statement, or “I don’t get it,” are the two I hear most. All it takes is an open mind and the motivation to MAKE it work for you. Maximize the tools it offers. Again, it takes time. It takes nurturing. Most of all, you have to WANT to make it work; MAKE those opportunities come your way. I myself am not working right now. I can tell you though, I wouldn’t have received near as many interview possibilities if it hadn’t been for Linkedin’s “Shared Connections” feature. My connection knows this contact at X company.

“See you on Google+ or wherever business gets done.”

REALLY???

I think Chris’s post was written in frustration. Whether he will regret deleting his Linkedin account in the near future, I don’t know. I just believe if utilized correctly, nurtured, updated, and maximized, Linkedin can be a social networking tool unlike any other. For all you Brogan-ites out there, including myself, think before giving up on your Linkedin network. A future lifetime opportunity might be waiting right behind that unforeseen corner.

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10 thoughts on “To Linkedin, Or NOT To Linkedin…

  1. Thanks Jeff! I myself am guilty of it as well. It’s just acknowledging the fact, re-engage, and learn to actually ENJOY the platform. I believe a lot of people don’t seem to perceive LI as being “fun” the way they do Facebook or Twitter. That’s the biggest change I’ve tried to make with it. HAVE FUN WITH IT!

  2. Thanks for the time you put into this Mike. I don’t follow Chris Brogan – because about 200,000 other people do – and I see his Tweets in my feed because so many people RT him. I wouldn’t ask to be connected to him on LinkedIn (as 16,000 + did) because I don’t know him. Did he actually remember having a connection with each of those people when he chose to accept an invitation?

    Maybe CB would be better off starting a new LinkedIn profile and building a smaller and well-connected community. But, I have a feeling he’ll be just fine without LI as one of the number of social media platforms he uses.

    I do check each of the LinkedIn invitations to connect (my job is easier at less than 300) to make sure I understand our relationship. Just as I do with my Twitter followers http://imeldadulcich.com/2012/05/twitter-connections-networking/ I try to appreciate my online community.

    I use LinkedIn to see connections to others in the community because I believe most work comes from networking and tips. It takes time and effort to set up (I’m still trying to get all the information right) but I think LinkedIn does provide opportunities for professionals when we open our eyes to them.

    1. Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting, Imelda! It means a lot!

      The way his blog post sounded, he was trying to press the “Agree To Connect” button and accept their “Request To Connect.” As for your assertion he might be just fine without one, I considered that mindset as well. However, one never knows what opportunities might come around the bend, regardless of who you are and how notable you’ve become. I believe it’s about nurturing the platform and continuing to utilize it as much as you can.

      I myself have been a little more of a stickler when it comes to approving LI connections. I think it serves everyone better when you’ve at least met and have a feeling for the other person. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the last point. The mutual connections feature is HUGE for me in my current job search.

      When’s our next lunch??!! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, simonhamer. Every social platform has its shortfalls, but it’s being able to use them productively that makes the difference. Imelda put it very well when she said maybe Chris could re-create a profile and make it a much smaller, more “connected” community than his old 200,000-person (whatever it was) community. LI remains extremely fertile ground for making business connections and creating opportunities for yourself and organization. It’s just about how you use it and how much.

      Again, thanks for commenting on the post and the follow! -Mike

  3. Hi. Thanks for the space. I’m loving Linkedin for the most part. I’m hunting for a job, and this has been the only platform I have truly achieved something, at least a few interviews that otherwise I believe would’ve been pretty much impossible to get, so I am very grateful.
    I am grateful some rights are being watched out for, and a lot of some very useful privacy tools are out there for anyone to use. I am grateful a platform like this finally exists, and anyone willing to do business has the right to open the door, the window, or only a vent.

    However I’m hating the fact that LI has setup some limitations, although I understand the reasons why they were setup, I believe some of them are setup backwards. Here’s why: I believe I (we) have the right to speak (first amendment anyone?) aka. send an invitation to connect, and the receiver has the right to deny it. The fact that LI limits senders with an obscure algorithm with no explanation as to how many IDKs are too many, and if they determine that we have too many (not telling us how many is too many), they lock down your account!
    I have no way of knowing if someone remembers me, or not, does know me and that’s why they don’t want to accept my invitation, just mistakenly pushes the wrong button, etc… And I’m the one punished? Really?
    I’m all in for respecting each others rights. Someone doesn’t want to connect with me, fine, let him be. Do please lock and get the spammers and Bul#$@ters, of course. get them out of the internet if at all possible (plenty of algorithms catch those) So why in heavens and all that is holy, am I (are we) not spammers, just networkers the punished ones?
    Idea for this: add a mid-security level in the invite section, and ask in the setup step, as: “anyone can send me invitations” (fine, disable the IDK button then) “anyone can ask but I reserve the right to accept” (fine, warn the sender he may be slapped on the wrists or punished worse if abused) and “only with email can any one reach me because I live in a monastery” (sorry for the acidity, but it is to make a point) -FB has something like that, and most email accounts, so why doesn’t LI??
    Talking a parallel in FB, as far as I know, you can send as many friend requests as you like, and you can have millions of followers, that is one of the reasons FB is so gargantuan and growing each and avery day. Why did LI choose not to copy That??

    Another note: we have 3000 invitation send limit. huh. Why? this includes bogus, non-LI, or discontinued email accounts. My outlook account has well over 10000 emails. Gladly I caught this before I tried to sync them. Now, if you want to reset that 3000 number, before you contact LI staff to plead your case, if the invites were accepted, fine, you can go to ‘sent invites’ and archive all on the first check list page. However, if for any other reason they are not (still) accepted, you must go in and click ‘withdraw’ on each individual one. Delete on a mass first-page does not work. They still count as ‘pending’ Why not put a ‘withdraw’ option on the first check list page , just as the ‘delete’ option? And why does the 3000 limit even exist? If and when I may try to sync my outlook list, I must split it manually, and hope no one clicks IDK, or worse…
    By the way, the LI staff told me that they do not publish and let you know if someone IDK you, for their own protection: right…: if at the individual page, to withdraw the sent invitation the ‘resend’ button or even worse the ‘withdraw’ button is not there, they IDKd you.
    Last week I had to wipe off my sent invitations list because a warning started popping everywhere that I had too many IDKs. My sent invitations had a bit over 2000. I had over 1600 accepted, a good acceptance percentage, by all means. And maybe 5 without the ‘resend’ button. Ah, but probably 40 ‘undeliverable’, Again, Why in heaven’s name am I being punished for 5 IDKs and 40 undeliverables, in over 3000 total contacts, really??

    Imagine if I sync my 10000+ outlook account? I’ll be banned for life!!!

    Some people, (not me) are complaining about the 30,000 total and absolute contact limit. I’m just saying, must be a technical reason, otherwise I just don’t get it.

    I spent a very precious inmail to contact a guy that by all means should have accepted my invite. I found his ‘sent invite’ on the list, the buttons were wiped off, so I knew. I asked him why. He told me: “oops, you’re right, I meant to click accept, but I messed up. sorry’. Now we are email pals.
    Sorry, I had to vent. And yes, I told the LI staff my concerns to make THEM better. I’ll wait patiently seated…

    By the way, look me up, I’m all in for connecting with (almost) anyone, to chat, vent, network, shrink the world, and if at all possible even make some business.

    Kindest regards

    Mauricio Geraud

    1. Thanks for your comments, Mauricio. I think a lot of what you said just has to do with the fact they’re attempting to monetize their page. Revenue is a big deal for any social media platform, and Premium is a big part of that. Would I like to access more executive-level individuals to connect? Heck yes.

      On the other side, I’m just wondering how many of the people you attempt to connect with and receive IDKs have you actually met in person?

      1. If they want to monetize their page, putting limits backwards will not help them but rather hurt them, in my humblest opinion. Many people are making money on the side by making lists of people that want to connect with everybody, Why not capitalize on THAT? Why not capitalize on additional filters, I mean sell the “protected” package for a fee? Why not sell the additional contact space, over the 30,000 contact limit? Why not sell additional invites, over 10,000 (3000 is just ridiculous)? Why not charge a fee to people that are spammed too many times, and tell how-many-is-too-many clearly numbered before that happens? Why not drop the prices on some of the premium accounts to grab a larger base?
        They have a trillion forms of making huge money on their hands, again, doing things backwards! Maybe I should charge them for these ideas… Or they should hire me… I am just a creative business guy looking for a job…

        And on a personal note, as many people may know a thing or two about doing business at a distance, I’ve met F2F maybe 3% of people I’ve done very serious business with, and maybe 1% of my database I don’t wanna know anything about them anymore, so I would IDK them for sure, Why punish them?
        Anyway. Isn’t the whole point for the internet based business? so if LI is expecting us to have us meet F2F everyone before they use their platform, I guess they may be living in the 70s…80s if a phone conversation is enough certification…
        I have maybe 20 prior F2F contacts in LI… I’ve had conversations with maybe 400 I’ve met on LI, out of which I’ve met F2F with about 10, 30 by phone for now, many of whom have told me they loved my initiative, and all of them have been because I’m hunting for a job… out of my 3000+ complete contact list. Isn’t that batting average telling you something?
        And yes, I’ve contacted 3000 to get around some of the restrictions, trying to convert some 3rd degrees into 2nd degrees and b able to tell them: “I’m a friend of 120 contacts of yours, please don’t IDK me or I’ll loose my paid premium LI account, and LI will loose my monthly fee, please help LI… “

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