The Linked thIng

This is week 7 in our 10(?) things for USQ 23 Things sequence and our thing is LinkedIn. Our blogger of the week, Ron Pauley, has produced an informative post about LinkedIn, which alerted me to some features and uses I hadn’t paid much, if any, attention to.

I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn for several years, possibly since soon after it launched. One way or another that has resulted in an accumulated 461 connections. Some of them I know well and have worked closely with. Others are little more than a name.

When I first started with LinkedIn I attempted to link with folk that I knew. Some of those were colleagues at USQ or members of various associations. Over time I have received invitations to link with people who are not known to me. For a time I accepted many of those but these days I’m more selective. I accept invitations to link with people I know or who have a profile that suggests some relevance to my own interests. I should probably spend some time to prune my connections but that would take more time than they otherwise require. It makes more sense to leave them be and consider pruning any who become a nuisance for one reason or another.

I probably don’t make as much use of LinkedIn as I might. Partly that’s because I’m not sure what use I should try to make of it. As Ron noted in his post, LinkedIn has evolved and continues to do so. It was originally a simple service but then expanded to offer groups, a venue for sharing presentations posted to SlideShare, and more.

Possibly the best thing I ever picked up via LinkedIn was Tripit when it first appeared and was initially hooked in via LinkedIn. I don’t know if that link still exists but I use the free version of Tripit via the website and iPhone/iPad apps to manage my travel. With a Tripit account it is possible to forward an email (PDF or web) itinerary to and have it decoded and added to your Tripit account as a well formatted itinerary that links to calendar apps and more. The Pro version of Tripit will do more but even the free version is a handy way to manage travel details in one place. On a recent trip back from NZ I was waiting in the Qantas lounge for a connecting flight from Auckland to Brisbane when I received an email from Tripit advising that the flight was delayed. The screens in the lounge were updated a few minutes later. If you don’t already have Tripit, go check it out.

Perhaps the worst feature of LinkedIn in recent memory was its approach to endorsements. That surge of activity seems to have abated now but while it lasted subscribers were inundated with regular messages about who had endorsed them and invitations to endorse others. That might have been more useful if so many of the endorsements were not for and by people who did not really know each other for skills they may or may not have seen displayed. Beware of LinkedIn endorsements. They may mean nothing and need to be checked out with trusted sources.