Friday, November 9, 2007

Linked In Linked Me In

I blundered into the social networking site "Linked In" the other day. These sites are popping up like it's 1999. But this one began to turn a profit in early 2006.

When I say that Linked In is a social networking site, I really mean that Linked In is a social networking site. It takes networking and network theory totally seriously; at face value. A Friendster for professionals if you will.

In a sense, YouTube and blogging sites use networks and Word-of-Mouth like processes to generate content. That content attracts viewers and then advertisers. But with Linked In the network is not just a mechanism to create a library of videos and a base of video viewers. Here, the content is the network, that is the whole focus. People can use the site to reconnect with old friends, to look for a job, to find a recommendation for a plumber, or to get themselves recommended.

Many of the network growth mechanisms are well thought out. For example, it lets you upload your email client's contact list of addresses. It will then, if you want, show only those folks who already have a LinkedIn account. From that set you can pick and choose who you are comfortable in inviting to be in your network. That is a nice example of a viral process that lets the user constrain the viral mechanism.

I personally find it very interesting viewing other people's contacts, the list of people at degree 2. And when I do a search, I like sorting on closeness degree.

The navigation is not 100% transparent in my view, but the site is simple enough that it is not a deal killer.

Count me as being Linked In,
Charlie Hofacker