Linked In – Six Degrees of Schmoozing

After some gentle prodding, I have finally registered at Linked In, a new online social network that promises to link people together and increase your odds of making the connection that will get you that job, that deal, that venture capital funding, etc.

The easiest way to get over the initial barrier-to-entry is to request a connection with someone that is already part of the network. Once that’s been confirmed, you can browse through the social network for your friends and colleagues and continue to request more connections. I found the search tools to be pretty rudimentary, but I’m sure they will improve over time.

My biggest complaint with the site is that it’s purely superficial. There’s nothing there but mini-bios of each person in the network. There’s no cumulative knowledge, no writing, no forums, no educated opinions, no links – in short, no community. Without something to keep me coming back to the site, why should I bother? The goal of the site should be a social network that facilitates reputation management. It’s just another online Rolodex, otherwise.

I would love to see some discussion areas on the site, or some kind of content that’s going to bring me back. After I’ve gotten past the initial ego-boost of sending connection requests to everyone I know, there’s not a whole lot else to do. With this many smart people in one place, it’d be foolish to watch them all get bored and wander off to find something more exciting to participate in. You’ve built a network; now where’s the community?

Posted by Cameron Barrett at May 15, 2003 02:36 AM

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