The majority of people I know use Facebook to connect with current or lost friends and former lovers; the latter is usually not discussed openly. However, there are others I know in the business sector who use it for establishing business to business relationships, increasing client base and sharing industry tips. I haven't yet made that leap to Facebook personally or professionally. (Professionally, I may one day join but at this time I remain uncommitted)
In 2008, I was introduced to Linkedin. A dear friends brother was very familiar with building business, brand and social networking; he offered to educated me on the finer points. Being from across the pond (England) he took the time to craft a lengthy email citing the do's and don't of blogging, the advantages of using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. His reference to LinkedIn came with more passion, "You MUST be on this."
Taking his advice I became a LinkedIn user, but lately I'm beginning to wonder if it is not becoming another Facebook? People are trying to connect with me that appear more interested in building up quantity rather than quality associations. I don't press the accept button without checking out the who? and assessing the why? we should be a part of each others network; this is where I see a long list of names from all over the world. Finding it impossible to see a common thread I simply ignore the invitation.
One person, who I have met personally, was an individual in which I still could not answer the "Why?" question. I don't like the feeling of obligation and therefore stood firm that this was not a business relationship I would like to cultivate. (It is funny that I do have a small voice inside my head that says "you are being a snob." I don't like that voice but I understand it forms its opinion based on a longstanding need to be polite and say "come on in" even when I'm not up for company) I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had to evaluate their relationship building on this site but at times it just seems a little too frequent.
LinkedIn is all business for me, connecting and learning from those groups and individuals that can bring a unique perspective and have expertise I appreciate. It is a virtual world of business discussion, collaboration and support that holds no borders and no office hours. Business development is key and establishing relationships with people who can inspire me, use my services or want to connect for mutual referrals or information sharing, is a great perk! What I don't need is the "friend" seekers.
LinkedIn has been expanding rapidly over the last few years and as I understand it plans to tap into more ways in which the 100 million users can find value in this tool. Joining millions of professionals for all the right reasons can be business and life changing. Connecting with old colleagues again who may provide well needed information or a spark to ones business/career plans is exciting. So much to be gained and as long as I can keep the wrong element at bay I will continue to use LinkedIn. If it gets taken over by those Facebook and Twitter junkies that need a new place to feel noticed I may need to adjust my settings. :)
Have you assessed your connections on LinkedIn before accepting invitations?
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