Social Media and the Professional: LinkedIn

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In this series I’m looking at my experiences using social media as a business professional. In this entry I examine the rules and policies I personally use regarding LinkedIn.

In the introduction to this series of blog entries, I asked several questions regarding my use of particular social media services, and how I manage the intersection of my personal and professional lives in them. Here I’m going to look specifically at LinkedIn. This is the way I use the service and may or may not be how you do or should use it yourself.

Initial true confession: I don’t actively use LinkedIn as I much as I think I should. I only use the free service, not a paid premium one. I’m including this entry for completeness and as a way to motivate myself to do more with it.

I think use of multiple social networks only has value if you do different things on each of them. If one service targets a specific audience, use it with those people in mind. If you are more or less throwing the same material at all of them, I think you are spamming people, hoping it will lead to some sort of positive outcome for yourself.

So discretion and care is needed, and I need to use LinkedIn more and better.

Who will I follow?

Of all the social networking services, I’m least restrictive in who I “friend” on LinkedIn.

That is, if someone offers to connect with me and it doesn’t look like spam or some other random approach, I will usually accept the connection.  I do try to connect with people who are current or former colleagues at IBM, and colleagues or clients with whom I’ve worked closely or hope to do so.

There is a non-trivial overlap in whom I friend in Facebook and whom I connect with on LinkedIn, but only if I wish to follow or engage with them in both the personal and business sides of their lives.

Who will I try to get to follow me? Who will I block?

Answered above regarding following, since it is a two way street. I don’t believe there is a way to block people, but I do ignore spam or questionable invitations.

How much will I say in my profile about myself?

My entire business resume.

What kinds of status updates will I post? How often will I post?

I don’t really post directly on LinkedIn yet, but rather have tweets and links to my blog entries posted there. This is too passive, I know.

When will I share content posted by others?

Very rarely, so far.

How political, if at all, will I be in my postings?

Not at all, unless something sneaks in via a tweet being reposted on LinkedIn.

How much will I disclose about my personal details and activities in my postings?

Only what is on my public resume, which is also online.

On what sorts of posts by others will I comment?

Rarely, but I plan to do more. I do actively recommend people if I have personal knowledge of their abilities. I use the simple form rather than writing out comments. If someone needs a longer recommendation from me or wishes to use me as a reference for a job, they should contact me directly. However, I’m happy to say that someone is proficient in C++ or SOA, for example.

What’s my policy about linking to family, friends, or co-workers?

I don’t.

Blog entries in this series: