LinkedIn

After about of month of neglecting it, I finally checked one of the numerous email accounts not housed on this server. I was pretty surprised to find that I didn’t have that much mail, though what was there was pretty interesting. (It’s amazing the kind of things you find in old, unkept email accounts.)

As I logged in, I was expecting to see a lot of spam. To my surprise, there really wasn’t much there. (Hurray spam filters!) What I found instead was a couple of messages from would-be writing contracts and — to my surprise — a LinkedIn invitation from an old acquaintance of mine, Wayne H. Wayne is the owner of Blog Business World, a SEO/SEM firm based out of Canada. Previously, he was also a writer for a SEO website, which is where we met. (I used to be that site’s Chief Editor.)

It was surprising to see his name on my list of un-read emails, especially since it was there three times. The emails were invitations to join the LinkedIn network. Apparently, LinkedIn doesn’t take its invitations lightly. (I’m now glad they don’t.) Since it was Wayne who sent them, I said “What the heck. I’ll bite,” then went ahead and signed up with the program.

For those of you who don’t know, LinkedIn is basically a network-building tool. Looking for a job? Looking for an employee? Looking for someone with similar interests? Chances are that if you’re looking for someone to fit one of those bills, you probably know someone who knows someone who is looking to fit that bill. What LinkedIn does is that it helps you create a network and helps them create a network and helps them create a network, and by using all those network connections, eventually, somewhere down the line, you’ll be able to find someone via that network who fits your need at the time.

On its face, the service looks really useful for anyone trying to build any sort of business. After all, networking is at the core of just about every business relationships. 90% of all jobs come from networking. Sales is all about networking. And SEO is definitely a networking game. The service relies on the old sales adage that everyone knows at least 250 people, and those people all know 250 people, so your initial network is something like 62,500 people. (Can you imagine if each of those people spent only one dollar with you per month?!) Although that number may be a bit high (I actually believe it’s way low), the principle is still a sound one, relying on the six degrees of separation theory.

(What is “Six degrees of separation”? The six degrees of separation theory states that every one on Earth is connected to everyone else on Earth by no more than about six people. For example, let’s say you are a Florida resident, and you want to find out whether or not you’re connected to Vladmir Putin, the Russian Premier (President?). You think back to anyone who may have been in Russia. Turns out you don’t know anyone who’s been in Russia, but you do have a friend who’s met President Bush. That right there means that you are separated from Bush via two degrees of separation. President Bush has (very publicly) met with Mr. Putin. That means that technically, although you’re not likely to be able to access Putin this way, you are connected to Vladmir via three degrees of separation, your friend, who knows George Bush, who knows Vladmir Putin. Can you think of another international figure you may be connected to? And by the way, no, this doesn’t account for pockets of lost human tribes living in an undiscovered island in the middle of the Pacific. Stop being such a jerk.)

As I mentioned before, I’ve just signed up for the service and the more I look at it, the more I’m liking what I see. For now, it looks like I’ll be sending out a few invitations to people who may just need the connections. As a matter of fact, I know they do.

If you’ve ever had any experience with the service, or a service like this, I’d definitely be interested in knowing about it.

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