linkedinWith all the hype surrounding Twitter at the moment, it’s easy for people  to overlook some of the other very useful sites out there. Especially if you’re new to business and/or social networking

One I’m determined to start making more use of is LinkedIn. They have this to say about themselves:

LinkedIn has over 46 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S. LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful

They have a video on their “about us” page that is a little bit waffly for my liking, but it gives a good idea of what it’s all about.

The key thing for me about LinkedIn is finding out the best way to contact someone I don’t know.

Let’s say I want to speak to someone at BigCo about a potential business deal. I can search LinkedIn for people from BigCo and see if I know someone that knows someone there – and if I do then I can request an introduction. It takes things to the third degree too – so whilst no one I know happens to know anyone at BigCo – they may know someone that does and I can get introduced through that path. Nice.

It does suffer a fatal flaw like Twitter, Facebook, etc in that it shows how many ‘connections’  (replace with ‘friends’, ‘followers’, etc) you have. So some people add connections to as many people as possible, even if they’ve hardly ever dealt with the person, just to inflate their egos and look important. Not much use when it comes to an introduction.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has taken out one of the “premium” paid-for subscriptions from LinkedIn and found it worhtwhile. Their site isn’t doing a great job of selling me onthe benefits of it.

If you’re a web developer looking for a start-up idea, you could take the LinkedIn concept and extend it to include degrees of trust. I started a discussion about this 3 years ago on UKBF. Someone even kindly started working on the maths. I still think it’s a goer.

Other Sites

UKBF is a very good site to get involved with if you’re interested in networking with others in business.

4Networking seems to really be going places, especially with the off-line meetups they organise. I retract my comments from when they first started, calling them “4Not-working” : )

WeCanDoBiz seems to be more slanted towards referals and leads than networking, but still worth checking out.

Ecademy is an odd one. I never got anywhere with it personally and I found it to be full of life coaches, emotional millionaires and people who wear cardigans (nothing against life coaches or cardigan wearers in moderation!) But I know some people who swear by it.

Any other business networking sites that you can recommend?

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