I’ve been sending out a few invitations via the social networking site LinkedIn lately. This is a web site that’s dedicated to business networking, so it has a job search feature and features that allow you to post your résumé and personal information for other users of the LinkedIn network to see. It’s a terrific opportunity to explore your personal connections and the connections that other people can, in turn, bring you.
Allow me to step back for a moment. What’s the point of such a site? Why bother to formalize your connections at all when it doesn’t bring immediate benefit? It’s not a safeguard at all – to me, it’s a way of articulating connectivity. It’s not about the number of links you have, necessarily — though the higher number of links within your business network, the more likely you are to be able to utilize the system for what it was intended for — but instead, it’s about allowing others to see the opportunities that they can take advantage of.
I have been putting some gentle pressure on friends of mine who are already on LinkedIn for exactly this reason – trying to see and take advantage of the opportunities they can give me. This isn’t at all self-centered, since, through my network, they can take advantage of the opportunities I can give them, whether that’s referrals for services or simply an opportunity to expand the number of people they know.
So, to those of you who have gotten an invite or are already connected to me, consider this a chance to see the kinds of people I know, have talked to, or have worked with. Some of them are truly interesting, astounding individuals.