Some people have called LinkedIn the place where you connect to people for absolutely no reason whatsoever, but I use it differently. For me, LinkedIn’s been a handy site.
I’ve used it to chat with other like-minded professionals in the discussion groups and find people who have knowledge that I want to gain (I’m interested in learning more about mobile advertising, since it’s not a bad idea for copywriters like me to keep up with emerging trends in marketing and advertising). Plus, I follow others to keep up with new trends going on in social media, SEO, and so on.
It’s fun to see who knows who. Sometimes I’m astonished by who knows my first-level connections — normally it would take you a long time and maybe a chance remark to discover who they know. But with LinkedIn, you can see it in seconds.
Every once in a while, I look up famous people on LinkedIn, just experimenting. I looked up Kevin Bacon a couple of years ago, playing a sort of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game on LinkedIn. He came up as a third-level connection, to my amusement. Alas, Kevin never sent a connection request if he saw me peeking at his profile. He’s a busy guy with movies to make and music to play, so it’s fine. (Did you know he and his brother Michael have a band?)
I teach LinkedIn as a volunteer in workshops and one-on-one instruction, so I thought I knew LinkedIn well. Surprise! I discovered a new feature of LinkedIn this past Tuesday — it’s called InMaps — and I’m loving it. I discovered it when I wandered behind a table where two friends of mine sat with a laptop. (“Hey, what in the world is THAT on your screen?”)
With InMaps, LinkedIn gives you a visual representation of all your contacts, worldwide. They can be sorted by groups such as professional contacts, friends, family members, or whatever you decide to label them. LinkedIn will then take that information and present it on a color-coded global map.
One of my first-level connections has over 12,000 contacts. It blows my mind to imagine what that must look like.
If anyone’s interested in checking out this feature of LinkedIn, visit the InMaps link or watch the video below.
Update 10/30/14: LinkedIn has discontinued the InMaps feature. According to LinkedIn support, they are currently exploring new ways to provide readers with better insights. Stay tuned.