Sunday, August 24, 2008

LinkedIn - Enterprise class Web 2.0

LinkedIn provides a mechanism to keep tabs on contacts that you make during your career. A friend of mine who I had worked with for nearly 6 years introduced me to the site by requesting I accept being added as a contact.

Initially, I thought that this was simply another site like FaceBook or MySpace, however it isn't. Users of the site are able to list their current company information, title, amount of time in each position within a company (or multiple companies), and even flag your account if you are looking for a new job.

My network is fairly large now, and continues to grow. Contacts that I have made over the years, both internal to my employer as well as external business partners, are part of my contact list. It allows me to keep track of my relationships with these contacts, even after they move to different companies. I've heard that it is not always what your skills are but who you know that moves you up the corporate ladder, and this tool allows people to keep track of those influential individuals.

LinkedIn has recently added additional functionality (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/20/linkedin-now-for-companies-2/) allowing company profiles to also be displayed on the site, creating a 'fact sheet' of sorts.

The question, however, is would tools like LinkedIn actually benefit companies, or is it an avenue for head hunters to get talent from competing companies? A company could find employees that work for them on such tools, look at their contact lists, and attempt to get them to come to the other company. What do you think? Should companies fear such sites, or does the benefit of business-class social networking assisting their employees outweigh such concerns?

4 comments:

Dave said...

LinkedIn has a feature where you can "bounce" our email address book against it to see who in your address book has an account. When I first did this there were four other people IN MY DEPARTMENT (of eight!) that had accounts. Turns out most of them didn't know the others had accounts. I thought it was amazing that four of us found out about the service from independent sources outside the company.

Blog Bandit said...

The same thing happened were I work as well. During the months after I had created my account and individuals added each other, I noticed there were 'pockets' of our group that were linked. Eventually, our whole department was linked together.

John said...

I also was introduced to LinkedIn as a capability to keep contact with business associates from other companies even when they have changed jobs.

One of the major issues (not so much with the actual technology but rather the social responsibleness of the capability). As one move higher in the organization and moves into an executive position, managing and protecting contracts is a very important issue. I doubt that if a CEO/CIO of a company intrusts you with their professional and personnal contact information, they don't what it passed out like a door prize.

For the mid-level employee probably a good technology, but not sure for the executive.

DrC said...

I have a LinkedIn account, but do not use it much. I log in when I see an email requesting authorization or to provide a recommendation upon request.

I love my job and less interested in who works where, although I like to keep in touch with friends and students.

It helps others connect and request a recommendation.

As John noted, I'm not completely comfortable with its public view and did not like disclosing professional as well as personal information.

The choices for "how you know this person" need an entry box as they do not include the kind of relationships I have with students from 12 years of classes.

I wind up in the fellow classmate category or feeling disconnected, as if I am the next best thing to a stalker. *smiles*