|Not that I want to promote the thought or the idea behind the BusinessWeek post (“Is social networking broken?“), just that I wanted to share the various “comments” that have been made at the end of the post.|
MY COMMENT ON THE BUSINESSWEEK ARTICLE:
First of all, LinkedIn cannot be considered as a “social” networking site. It is an online business networking portal. Secondly, as others in their comments have pointed out, the post made by Adam Kalsey is old.
I am not much of a Social networker – not because I have not been inclined to use the social networking portals like Orkut, but because I have used them and found that unless I really have a lot of time to waste, I have no real “benefit” participating on these portals.
However, not only do I see innumerable benefits of being part of a business network on portals like LinkedIn and openBC, I have actually experienced the benefits which range from thought-provoking discussions, new associates and contacts, to actually making money and doing business. And even though I am based in Bombay, India, 90% of the business that I have generated from participating on online business networking portals like LinkedIn and openBC, has been from overseas clients.
The classy business networking portals like LinkedIn and openBC provide ample amount of control on who I want to connect with and what information I want to reveal to each person on my network. These portals empower the users. What might be considered as Spam by me might not be considered so by someone else. Of course, if one signs up on Orkut and displays a personal e-mail to everyone, like someone mentioned above, “dense” would be the appropriate word to describe the person. But we are learning, albeit slowly.
If I send out Spam on my business network, it will not be overlooked. Not only will I stand to lose professional contacts that I have put in effort to connect with, I will also lose credibility for future requests to connect. Also, I might lose membership to the business networking portal altogether. I send out an e-mail to all my network contacts (more than 1200 people and growing) every month. Till today only three have sent me personal e-mails and asked to be removed from the e-mail since they did not feel that it suited their needs or requirements. Business networking makes that possible.
As for unwanted contacts, online business networking allows us to say “No”. And if we do not say “no” when we feel that the contact is unwanted, we will complain how our connections list is growing larger with “unwanted” contacts.
Online business networking is not limited to just reading profiles on the networking portal and writing a monotonous request to connect. Everyone has links to blogs or websites on their profiles and we can find out more about them using those links. Read: Request to Connect
Strangers are friends we have yet to meet. Unless we connect with people we do not know, how can we ever hope to know them?
ALSO THE CNET POST ABOUT “Why social networking does not work”. Do not miss the TalkBack section.
MY COMMENT ON THE SAME:
LinkedIn is not a “social” networking portal. It is an online business networking portal as you have rightly pointed out.
On your point 2. “It takes too much time” – LinkedIn and openBC (another trail-blazing online business networking portal) are definitely more useful than social networking sites. However, I do not believe that they are less information rich. LinkedIn and openBC profiles of people who are members of the portals have links to the blogs that they write or frequent and their websites. People who are there for the business networking, constantly update their profiles with new developments. These portals are one of the best way of finding out more about a “person”.
In point 4. “Strangers kind of suck (or, put nicely, the social hierarchy is really not that attractive)” where you say “Sure, business networking is valuable, and it’s great to have a lot of resources who might know someone who can help you with…something. But that argument gets a little thin when you’re suddenly bombarded with date offers or all-too-frequent postings about the unsavory or just plain uninteresting habits of the strangers you suddenly know.“
It seems like you are confusing business networking and social networking. Business networking is not based on the premise that we connect with people we already know and the connections made are not for seeking dates or sharing quirky habits. You are right, instead of sending them (people I know) an e-mail or sending them a message via IM, I might as well meet up with them for coffee. But why should I restrict myself to people I know? I, personally have not only participated in thought provoking discussions and built relationships with people I have never “spoken” to, let alone meeting them, I have done business with them and made money and am constantly giving back to the network by helping other networkers. Even though I am based in Bombay, India, 90% of my clients are from abroad. Online Business Networking allows me to do that.
As for point 5. “And I can probably find it faster using Google than I can by e-mailing one friend who’ll e-mail another who’ll e-mail another while my deadline slips away. Sure, it’s helpful–once in a while. But once I have all these folks in my address book, I won’t be much help in terms of ad impressions.“
Agreed that Google is great, I swear by it myself, but how will you know that the person you have found is who he/she says he/she is? How will you ensure that (once you have found their e-mail id online) your e-mail to them survives their Spam filter? One of my professional contacts recently asked me for help with transcription services that she required. Within 6 hours, I had sent out e-mails to various e-groups on Yahoo where I am a member and I had sent out half a dozen e-mails to other connections on the same networking portal and I had 5 quotes for providing the service. Within a day, the originator of the search in the US had decided on whether she had better opportunities at cost-savings in India or in the US – and this is assuming that I was the only peron she asked. Try contacting a stranger who you find on Google and see if you can repeat this. I am not saying that it will not work – it just might – but when online business networking portals like openBC and LinkedIn provide me the facility with better, faster and more secure results, why should I rely only on Google? Why shouldn’t I combine the power of all the technology available to me, optimize it to my needs and strive to live in a truly global village?