I’ve finally gotten around to playing with sending messages to my first degree contacts. The way I’m doing it now is 50 at a time, through LinkedIn’s mail server.
Simply mouse over the Inbox menu option, then click Compose. To the right of the To box you’ll see a little non-descript icon… that will pull up your address book.
Unfortunately, you can only send a message to 50 people at a time, so I have to go into my A’s, select the first 50, and then send to them… and repeat the process through all of my network. It is a pain. So far, aside from the major inconvenience, I haven’ t had any issues.
Well, there is one almost-glitch. Sometimes (maybe one out of ten or fifteen tries) I’ll select 50 and then hit okay to go back to the screen below and the To: will be blank. I wondered if I was actually sending to anyone. I went to Inbox, then Sent, and saw it indeed sent to those 50 people that I chose, even though it didn’t show them in the To: box.
An alternative (that I used to do, many years ago) is to export your network (only first degree contacts) and then import that into mailchimp, icontact, etc. But in reality those people have not opted to be on a “newsletter,” so I think one-time messaging is okay but not monthly or regularly messages. I’m sure that’s up for debate.