Thursday, August 11, 2011

LinkedIn – great concept but practically useless!

The other day I had a need to get introduced to an individual, let’s call her Jane Doe, who worked for company X. I searched for her on LinkedIn and was delighted to find that she was “in” my network – only one step away, directly connected to my friend “Jon”. So, I ask Jon to introduce me to Jane explaining why I wanted to talk to Jane. Jon’s response was the shocker – he said “I am really sorry but I barely know Jane (translation: I don’t really know Jane). I will send her an email but I am not sure if she will respond or not!” But, that defeats the very purpose of this media I said to myself!
Well. after this I decided to examine my contact list and to my dismay I realized that gradually a good number of individuals that I can’t remember ever meeting has made it into my list of connections! Who are those people? Why are they on my list? What does it really mean to me to have those people in my list and what does it mean to them to be on my list? I certainly can’t vouch for them nor can I rely on them for anything since I don’t know them BUT the very fact that they are on my list of direct connections constitutes some sort of an endorsement.  What a mess! What is now the real value of this thing to the end users other than to sales professionals who may use it as a cheap way to compile prospect lists or to marketing professionals who can run highly targeted ads?  What motivates someone who has no prospecting interest to waste much valuable time there? I can't find a good answer!
I am not trying to bash LinkedIn here – the concept was great and the implementation near perfect but we the people seem to have ruined a good thing as we often do. 

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