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Someone please explain LinkedIn to me

Someone please explain LinkedIn to me

Apparently Legal Insurrection has a LinkedIn account.  I discovered this tonight.  I must have forgotten about it.

It’s somewhat spooky, because when I signed in to respond to an invitation, it started suggesting people to me, and these are people I actually knew.  And not just bloggers, but people I had a connection to in the past but whose names never appeared on the blog.

Someone please explain the purpose of LinkedIn to me, and link me, if that’s the right term (be sure to “like” the Facebook page and follow me on Twitter).  There’s ego at stake here.

Update 6-23-2011:  Apparently you may need to use an e-mail address for LI’s LinkedIn page to link, use “contact -at- legalinsurrection -dot- com”.


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As I understand it, it’s supposed to be social networking for career advancement. Not sure how effective it is.

It’s like the facebook for professionals…instead of your personal stuff, you share your career (this is where I’ve worked, this is what I’ve done).. like an online resume, with personal references included…

Juba Doobai! | June 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Wish I could understand or explain it. I keep getting invites from names I know but have yet to figure out if these people are actual LinkedIn account holders or if LinkedIn is just spamming.

Pasadena Phil | June 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I dread receiving requests to be on someone’s LinkedIn page. If their clients or close business associates, I’ll do it but it scares me to lose control of whose network I show up in.

I think it’s a useless tool that only helps marketers find you.

Its for professional networking. The focus in exclusively on the professional stuff, sharing your resume, recommeding people you know, trying to connect with potential recruits.

I find it effective for that purpose, but I run a company and am looking for specialized talent reasonably often. I also find it effective for keeping up with people at a professional level, e.g. changed jobs, etc.

Like facebook, the algorithms that scour the web to find suggestions of people you know are interesting (and perhaps scary).

It looks for any kinds of connections, and if you enter a real resume with past company work offices etc., it can scour all kinds of lists to start making suggestions.

Love it or hate it, increasingly it is all public, folks – we leave a wider trail than we thing 😉

JimMtnViewCaUSA | June 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Yes, that’s right. It’s Facebook for people with jobs.
I get contacted by recruiters every week or two (they pay money to get access to resumes). Which is flattering, even when the jobs being flogged are not very good.
When someone comes in for an interview at my company I check their profile/resume.
If I consider moving to a new company I do a quick search to see who I know at that company. Or see whether I know someone who knows someone.
They use overlapping time periods at schools and jobs to guess who you might know, also see if you have contacts in common.

The leader in professional networking, LinkedIn has 100 million users — but like you, I have an account I forgot about so who knows how many of those users matter.

Ah, but it may not matter whether they matter because LinkedIn just completed an IPO in May with the stock shooting through the roof giving the company a current market cap of around $9 billion.

Go figure.

Donald Douglas | June 23, 2011 at 12:22 am

People bug me to join LinkedIn. I think they score points to win Betsy Crocker prizes, or something. It’s lame.

It’s all attributable to data mining. A few things are in play here.

First, most people have no idea that every time they visit some web site, their IP address is logged into a database. When I check the visitors to my web site, I can view them by their IP address and from there I can go to another site and get a quite specific location for that IP address. If it is a dedicated IP address, I can even view information about exactly who owns it.

Second, once you upload your resume to LinkedIn, they can parse every piece of information and put it all into a database. Thus, if you include that you worked for company X at time Y, they can match you with others who were at company X at time Y. Likewise, if you went to school Z at time J and had major X, this can also be matched with others whose resumes have the same data.

Third, LinkedIn probably has spiders and bots (robots) that scour the net just like Google and other search engine do every night. They can mine that data as well. Thus, if your name appears on some pdf file at some site along with others, they may be able to correlate some of the data on other people on that list with some of your data – and bingo – their proprietary algorithm suggests that you may know that person.

If they correlate IP address info with parsed info you put on your resume and then cross check it with data their spiders and bots find – they can make very reasonable guesses at who you may know.

Hey Doc, I need to send you a pic of a bumper sticker or 2; I know the email is on your site somewhere, but I can’t find it 🙂 Send me an email so I can respond plz

Joan Of Argghh | June 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

It’s interesting to note that the Army specialist “kids” in Iraq built a network link-map of who-knows-who in that tribal culture, in order to catch Saddam Hussein in 2003. This was just a year after LinkedIn was launched. Facebook arrived on the scene in 2004.

That our government resources are hooking up with FB is not really a new development. That we’re actively and voluntarily hooking up and cooperating with Big Brother is the news. Who knew it would be fun, engaging, and would play on our social need to be “seen?”

Even those with nothing to hide don’t realize they have everything open to “interpretation” by those with an agenda.

DINORightMarie | June 23, 2011 at 7:07 am

I just read this: LinkedIn on wikipedia . My guess is that you should keep ignoring these requests, unless you are interested in looking for a job…..or want to hire/recommend someone to be hired. The internet can be a very scary place. That’s one reason I like Legal Insurrection – it is like a safe harbor in a raging storm. 😉 Have a great day!

The first time I receive a linkedin request, I marked it as spam. I have not received any requests in my inbox since. I use e-mail in my practice, but I like the “one-on-one” with a phone call. E-mail has no emotion or nuance. Most people have no idea of what happens when they “facebook” someone. If privacy settings are not correctly set, anyone can see who you are communicating with and what is being “said”. Some people believe that the more internet friends that you have, the more important you are.

How do I add an avatar?

Did you have anyone you linked to initially? Linkedin does check your resume, but it also checks the people to whom you have linked to see if they share any other contacts.

theOtherKen | June 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

I’m a fan of LinkedIn. It allows me to keep track of folks that I used to work with, keeps me apprised of job opportunities in my field, and has some interesting discussions. What’s not to like?

Katie Thompson | June 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

I saw an article a while back that said Linkedin is one of the top tools companies use for recruiting. I joined after my boss read my Perry post and suggested I get one – figure it can’t hurt to have my resume out there.

I use LinkedIn for my business and have both found consulting jobs and have been approached to do consulting work.

You can get invitations when someone who has your e-mail address uses LinkedIn to send out invitations to join that person’s network. The theory is that whomever has your e-mail has worked with you sometime in the past.

There are also groups in LinkedIn that focus on specific interests/industries/professional societies. There are discussions/newsfeeds on these groups and you can set preferences as to how often you want to be notiied as to new activity.

Commenting on discussions is generally civil as other people in the group know who you are and your reputation as a troublemaker (if you are so inclined) will get around.

It can be useful, if approached in the proper way.

Yes, Linkedin is very effective as a networking tool and I’m with Ken, Katie, and Dr.K. I’m in Linkedin and facebook as my given name; I am Not in Twitter and have no intentions of getting a Twitter acct. From an IT security perspective Linkedin is more secure than FB and both are more secure than Twitter. If you needed to segregate your Legal contacts network from your blogging/political contacts Linkedin would be a good way to go for one or the other. Not being a Linkedin user you could find it very useful as a Blogging Network in the same way you could picture it as your “Other Lawyers Network”. BTW I logged on to linkedin to find ‘william a jacobson’ and it didn’t come up in my list. Currently I’m in the freebie Linkedin for dire straits reasons, but there are a number of features and tools available with the paid membership linkedin.

Pasadena Phil | June 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I just got word this morning that FINRA is cracking down on people like me if we use LinkedIn or Facebook for professional reasons. They will charge what I believe to be $8 per month for oversight.

I am not on Facebook and never knowingly subscribed to LinkedIn but I did ok a few clients to link on to my firm’s website. That does it for me. I am OFF of LinkedIn.

What is FINRA?

Dr K – FINRA = Financial Industry Regulatory Authority = The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the self-regulatory agency for stockbrokers in the United States. It sets rules for brokers and hosts most of the arbitrations between investors and brokers. FINRA was created in July 2007 and took over the duties of the old National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

What it means is that “Big Brother is watching, and amazingly is going to make obscene profits as well as inhibiting and intimidating freedom of speech.

FINRA is among other things what anyone providing financial advice has to register with.

AH, OK. Thanks for the clarification.

Professor: I just went back into Linkedin and checked the Identity “Legal Insurrection Blog” where I couldn’t find you as “William Jacobson”. Only having the free membership at this time I was asked to upgrade to send “legal Insurrection Blog” a message.

On the off chance that “Legal Insurrection Blog” is not in fact you, check with [email protected].

I was already linked to you! Yay! \o/

jeannebodine | June 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Alas it has not helped me after 2 years of funemployment.

Of course, I don’t think there’s any way of getting around that age thing on a resume. I’ve read all the breezy articles about leaving off the year you graduated and accentuating your accomplishments, not your work history. But really, it just makes people suspicious that you’re older than you actually are. And then there’s the problem that a lot of my “contacts” are also older and many eschew LinkedIn (or are retired or dead!).