I try to sign up to most online services when they come my way, partly to check them out but often as a land grab to keep my username of choice alive as an online identity. More often than not, after a little experimentation, my account may lay dormant and not get used again, or later develop into something else, part of the redundancy of being online in lots of spaces.
I signed up with LinkedIn what seems like ages ago and have never really understood it and certainly didn’t use it very often. I don’t find it a social space, the imported tweetstreams have always put me off, since twitter is about communication and if you aren’t there to answer, it is just about broadcasting.
LinkedIn has been hovering on my horizon for a while, a few people have mentioned it in different contexts, in particular Matt Mobbs talking about its use as a career tool. Following the Turnitin meeting last week, and prior to attending the google users group meeting, I had a couple of connection requests, so today I gave it some serious attention. There are lots of reasons for me to look at LinkedIn again, I’m going to be changing career and have already started to think about how I can consolidate the connections I’ve made and the work I’ve done over the last seven years I’ve been at Leicester. This blog has been a place for me to keep the outputs of the work I’ve done, but showing potential employers that you are a well-connected person and have a good online reputation is more difficult. The could follow me on twitter, they could ask my tweeps about me, but they aren’t likely to be that direct. They are more likely to Google me (that is what I would do!). LinkedIn struck me suddenly as a place that I can show how I am connected to those I tweet with and work with, and how important those people have been in the work that I’ve done. Everything I’ve done has always been collaboration, my work would be nothing without my colleagues there to help, comment, feedback and inspire me (gosh that sounds horribly saccharine, but unfortunately it’s true, so you’ll just have to wince and carry on!).
I can’t say that I will be ‘resident’ in LinkedIn, but I can see that I need to work on my profile and start to pay forward some of the benefit I’ve had from my colleagues by making recommendations about how we’ve worked together. There is a problem with this, firstly, I’m not connected with all the people I follow on twitter (anyone know a neat way to make that happen?) and secondly the unsolicited recommendations I’ve sent so far have been welcomed but somewhat surprised people. I’ve changed the way I think about recommendations, I used to see them as one step away from a formal reference, but I thought today about micro-chunking them – small acknowledgements of contributions to specific projects. I wonder if this will work, or if people will automatically be suspicious and think I’m fishing for compliments?
I’d appreciate some feedback – am I being too creepy (as in -treehouse/-stalker/-brown-nosing) ? How do you use LinkedIn? Am I way off the mark?! I’m interested to know!