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LinkedIn: What Is It Good For?

May 12, 2014

I’m connected to more than 1,200 people on LinkedIn. I’m a member of a number of LinkedIn groups, though I’ve never posted anything to them. I’ve been endorsed by a number of my colleagues (often for fields in which I have no expertise) though I’ve never endorsed anyone myself. As far as I know, I’ve never received any clients through LinkedIn. On the other hand, people have reached out to me and I’ve been able to contact people I’ve sought out through LinkedIn and I’ve received notice of items my contacts have posted on LinkedIn.

I recently checked out the Boston Bar Associations Trusts & Estates Sections LinkedIn group and its 183 members had posted absolutely nothing in five months (and I can still be the first to comment on the last post). Other groups I’m a member of are more active. Friends of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has more the 3,200 members and an active discussion forum. ElderLawAnswers has almost 1,000 members and a somewhat less active discussion forum, mostly reposting of articles from the ElderLawAnswers website.

Looking at my own home page, it starts with news items recommended by LinkedIn, none of which excites me. I can click on a link to my news, which shows news articles under categories for which I had signed up. Most seem to be under “Leadership & Management” which I may choose to drop. Clicking on one link, I come to an article written by a professional writer. It was posted today and already at 10 a.m. it has been read (or at least viewed) by 1,056 people, liked by 45, commented on by eight, tweeted by 16 and shared by 91. Not bad! I’m not sure if anyone can post such articles or if there’s some sort of qualification process.

Next on my home page are two links to an article about cats shared by a client with whom I’m connected. This is followed by information about 10 people who have new connections. The first is someone I knew in law school. Checking his page I see that he’s a partner at Jones Day, teaches as an adjunct at two law schools in New York, and later this month will be speaking at the Pre-Law Society at Skidmore College (does he have a child attending?) and will conduct a webinar on construction defect litigation and risk prevention. Looks like he’s successful and busy.

Back to my home page, it also contains a long list of news items, including links posted by my connections and their updates, whether about a new job or a new profile photo. I also receive e-mails about many of these updates. Some of these are useful and interesting – the new jobs — and some just add to my already overflowing in-box – the photo updates.
My feeling is that LinkedIn has a lot of potential, but it hasn’t realized it yet. I’ll keep accepting invitations to accept from people I know or who work in my field in anticipation of being able to leverage this network at some point in the future. But for now, my marketing time and effort are much better spent elsewhere.

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