Expanding the Limits of Social Networking: My LinkedIn Power Forum

I’ve been involved with the LinkedIn social network for a long time, along with quite a few other networks, and have been pleased to see how it’s evolved into a terrific professional networking environment, while the other social networks I’m in have devolved into MLM hunting environments (Ryze) or non-professional, personal dating and socializing networks (Orkut).

Dave Taylor’s Profile at LinkedIn

The latest wrinkle on LinkedIn that I’m just learning about is that some savvy members with > 1000 connections realized that the tools LinkedIn offers to mine your network are insufficient, and they’re building separate, but related, mailing lists and discussion forums for LinkedIn users.
This is impressive because one sign of a healthy and thriving community is when it spawns innovation in its user community. Think “eBay”, for a beautiful example of this phenomenon. (I know, because my second startup, iTrack, was a company riding the coattails of eBay until we sold it and it was morphed into a completely different service)

The LinkedIn Power Forum, known more formally as My LinkedIn Power Forum or “MLPF”, was inspired by a quote from business guru, brilliant public speaker and networking genius Tony Robbins, who stated quite bluntly that Communication is Power.
The purpose of MLPF is to give you the tools to build your own network faster and more efficiently, and you can learn about it more at its home page on Yahoo Groups: My LinkedIn Power Forum.
While I’m delighted at the enthusiasm of the LinkedIn community in creating the My LinkedIn Power Forum, I find it fascinating to observe the evolution of the connection concept from “link to current and former colleagues” to “link to anyone who can help you identify useful or interesting fellow LinkedIn members.” In some sense, the entire premise of the MLPF flies in the face of my personal philosophy of linking: I only link to people I’ve met, at least electronically.
And yet, by being on LinkedIn, I have received cold queries for consulting jobs, and I recently had a client forwarded to me from a chap on the East Coast who didn’t have the right talent set. A startling and quite intriguing development.
On the other hand, more specific LinkedIn networks are also spawning their own communities, and those seem to make more sense to me. LinkedIn Bloggers is a fun intersection of two interests of my own, and so far has been a pleasant discussion of how blogging can help people network and promote themselves, both within the LinkedIn environment and throughout the Internet.
In fact, Yahoo Groups alone have 76 LinkedIn discussion groups. See for yourself: LinkedIn Groups at Yahoo Groups. From medical executives to members of the legal profession, IT to corporate execs, there’s an entirely new parallel channel springing up from the fertile seed of LinkedIn.
What do you think of these developments? Are you a member of LinkedIn and how have you found it professionally?

7 comments on “Expanding the Limits of Social Networking: My LinkedIn Power Forum

  1. Dave
    Very nice post on the evolution of the Linkedin phenomenon. It’s great to have experienced bloggers like yourself over on Linkedin Bloggers and I’m glad you like the fact that we are also attracting people just dipping their toe in the blogosphere, so to speak.

  2. Dave, i just discovered linked in last week, and it is all a bit of fun, but i dont think the implications of something like this is easily understood. are we really meeting new contacts or is it almost turning out like a game popularity contest of whose having the most links.
    its too early for me to tell, but i look forward to what eventuates

  3. Hi Dave, Good insights. Ultimately, it is the individual’s perogative to understand what is the linking behavior that is needed. I link to people who I have ‘met’ electronically (through either yahoogroups, blogging or ryze), however some people have a low trust of online meetings, and only link to people they have met offline…
    The three tools, linkedin, yahoogroups and blogging satisfy three different needs of human need for engagement. Linkedin is a public display of one’s rolodex…while blogging is one’s display of point of view/opinion/news , where as yahoogroup is a community sharing of questions and answers…
    Yes, these are still in-progress tools, and how they impact the kind of information we get bombarded with, we’ll choose our screens and filters.

  4. I have been working with LinkedIn to establish a basic group. I find the site quite difficult to use. The price structure (a new development is that the basic group no longer has the option to have a directory listing for $200) is mystifying…from free to $5,000 for a premium group. Searches only display group members rather than a group listing. And there is no capacity for subgroups, which is something we would like for our alumni professional network. If anyone can offer advice on how to make LinkedIn work for an alumni professional network, it would be appreciated. We will be upgrading to a premium group this fall (gratis).

  5. Dave,
    I have been trying to put all my publications and presentations at conferences/ events/ etc. into the Linked In Honors section. These are all internationally recognized, blind-refreed events, and in the segment that I network, would act as signficant branding tool.
    As I present a lot, there are about 20-30 presentations and publications. Everytime I tried putting this into my “Honors and Achievements” section in Linked In, I keep running into size limitations of a max of 1000 characters.
    Do you have any suggestions? Also is there a forum or LinkedIn help group that I can place this question to?

  6. Hi Dave,
    Very interesting.
    I fully agree that a sure sign of progress is the amount of innovation that goes around it. LinkedIn is progressing that way but I guess it requires more of those.

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