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Linked-In :

Like many I had a couple of invites to LinkedIn over the last few days.  So my curiosity came into play.  I'm getting a little jaded now.  Ryze, Ecademy, Friendster (there's a financial connection / similarlity) etc.  This post today will force me separately to do an update on Ryze.  There's the plenty of natural speculation out there on how it will grow and do. 

LinkedIn leaves me a little cold from the get go. Utimately, this site will fail not on short-term interest or due to power laws.  It simply doesn't doesn't deal with the gradiations of trust and the number of different connections that are required. 

It seems simple enough profile yourself.  Give lots of industry and CV detail.  The thing is the connections that are suggested in many case don't need all this information to be revealed until the parties are prepared to play. I still believe Ecrush is something to learn from. There's someone out there that's interested in your skills - you both know X do you want an introduction? A lot more privacy and control with this example. 

I notice that Joi has some 232 connections today. What does it mean? What sort of introduction does one get? When the search returns the one with the most connections is that the best link for me?

Some rambling objections and queries:

First it's captured my most personal e-mail address - I didn't get a choice.  Of course it's how my friends and key business contacts find me, but LinkIn has no rights to know me or start a relationship this way.  And now they are dumping invite responses in this e-mail stream.  Yes I've fixed it with a new primary address. 

Now I'm in - I should be spending time credentialling myself.  Where are the models, I only have one friend (at this point) I skip the details, they just wanted one industry (doesn't fit me) and want to know who's here.  When you are new it's hard to learn from others in this system.  Search see some resumes. Will take more time if I'm to be active in here. There is no immediate kick or gratification.  No Ryze like guestbook goodwill. 

It's not very transparent behind the scenes.  There's no photo's, I'm becoming hesitant to send out any invites.  The only people I can think to invite are those I've been experimenting with.  They'll understand I'm on the loose again.  I invite a couple.

Now today there are plenty of great comments on Joi's site.  It does bother me what's happening behind the scenes.  See Kevin Marks. Look at Marc Cantor's comments too.  

What I've not seen are the following questions

  • How do I link out (get out) of LinkedIn? It simply doesn't allow me to share my information with my contacts in an effective fashion.  For example I might be willing to share Scenario Proposals with key contacts or those I've worked with or for.  I might not want to do it for everyone.  
  • This is another "invite" focused site.  Make connections it screams. This may be backwards.  Should you invite or ask for a referal or reference.  Had the instruction been set up this way my network building would already have been significantly different.  The language used is important.  LinkedIn uses "Connections".  Some connections are transitory others are permanent. Connections are different to contacts which we placeholder and categorise differently. 
  • Can I change my relationship with my connections? If my perceptions of my contacts change dropping them means they aren't referring me any longer.  How do I change the relationship?  At the moment you can't although you can withdraw an invite. Because it is declarative with no middle ground, we'd have the childish problem Ryze raised at one time but in reverse.  "So you don't want to be my friend (connection) anymore?" 

It's encouraging that investments are continuing in this space.  This one doesn't bring much pleasure or instant gratification to the user.  Still if someone contacts me it might be a real surprise.  My impression may change.  At the moment I'm doing slightly better than the average on connections (4vs3). I expect nothing. 

Summary:

LinkedIn provides an interesting preview for the future of referrals.  It fails to engender joy or excitement, in fact many will be hesitant to use it.  Connections terminology is not consistent with trust and the leader board search that ranks on connections isn't helping things.  It's too closed for my liking.  I know of something better. 

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Comments (1)

Dina:

My two-bit adds:

1. Most of my searches result in a pretty senseless match - perhaps early days but i'd prefer to see 'noone' than the force-fits i seem to get

2. The profiles leave me cold ... i'd like to be able to link back somewhere to my blog, company url

3. I'd like to be able to see the networks/connections of people in my network

4. It seems like a closed network - exclusive rather than welcoming or inclusive - a space more for people with already large networks and connections, already 'linked in' (which makes me wonder why they need yet another space). Maybe thats the way its designed.

5. Am a bit uneasy about opening myself up and leaving the system of referrals completely in the hands of the administrators - (maybe i'm missing something here)

These issues make me uncomfortable ... i am hesitant to ask for a referral/request a contact or to invite others in. Makes me wonder if there's some value in soft human profiles as well. As someone living and working in India i'm not sure yet about what it offers me ....

Then this is still in beta !

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