I get almost-canned invitations regularly that say:
I use LinkedIn to keep track of my professional network, and would like to add you.
I hate this, for two reasons.
First, no one uses LinkedIn to “keep track of their professional network,” just by adding someone.
If you add me to your network, how do you “keep track of me?” What are you proactively doing to see what I’m up to? How are you keeping up with job title changes, and if there is a change, what are you doing about it?
If there is a change that merits contact, how are you contacting me? Do you go into LinkedIn and get my phone number or email?
As your network gets bigger it’s harder to “keep track of” me, and all the rest of us.
Second, maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but I want to think if you are “keeping track of me” I’ll hear from you again.
I have this wierd thought that I’ve become an important part of your network (at least, I’m on your radar).
How come, then, do you completely ignore me after we connect?
No communication, no well-wishes, no congratulations… nothing.
What exactly are you keeping track of?
I think LinkedIn is a professional social network that has certain amazing advantages, one of the most important being that YOU can look at MY network once we are connected. If I’m connected to a lot of industry leaders, just by connecting with me you’ll add them to your network.
This value of LinkedIn is rarely stated nowadays, but it is perhaps the most significant that LinkedIn has to offer.
What LinkedIn stinks at is acting as a tool to help me “track my network.”
Oh sure, they’ve added customer-relationship-management-like (CRM) features, but in my opinion it is very weak compared to a real CRM (which is what we do at JibberJobber.com).
Another reason, though, that LinkedIn could not be my CRM, or a tool to “track my network,” is because of the arbitrary way that LinkedIn kicks people out.
If I am in a social network and I behave badly, the social network can kick me out.
And LinkedIn does this regularly (I am the one who gets emails from people saying “HELP!! What can I do to get my account back??”)
I kind of expect that, if I don’t play by their rules. They turn off my network.
HOWEVER, could you imagine being in a situation where they turn off your CRM data?
If you collect phone numbers and names, and write notes about someone, and make log entries and create action items (which they don’t have yet), and then you get kicked out… wow!
Would you allow LinkedIn to kick you out of this type of information? This becomes your own personal, private database, doesn’t it?
I would not allow any company to kick me out of my CRM.
At JibberJobber we have never kicked anyone out (yet) of the database they are creating to really track their network relationships.
At LinkedIn, it happens regularly. It’s a policy that has to be in place because LinkedIn gives you power to abuse connection relationships… if you abuse, you can’t play.