LinkedIn: Facebook for Grown-Ups.

So, I’ve been on Facebook for nearly four years now, and I am sorry to admit it, but the online community is losing its luster. Gone are the days of excitedly adding everyone I encounter or enthusiastically skimming through spring break photos of random people on my friends list. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

Now that I’m in the recovery stage of my Facebook addiction, I find that I have more time in the day. Apparently, Facebook is a combination of a black hole and a break in the space/time continuum. When on Facebook, productivity mysteriously vanishes and in an instant you’ve traveled two hours forward in time. Is it just me, or does that make surfing Facebook sound like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone?

The frightening realities of Facebook aside, even with all my newly discovered free time, I still feel like something is missing.

The remedy? LinkedIn. This social networking site was created for finding and building business relationships online. It’s basically Facebook, but your friends aren’t the group of random guys you met at a fraternity party freshman year and never talked to again.

I know it’s a scary transition. Instead of posting pictures of yourself soused at the bar last weekend, you can post industry questions for established professionals. It doesn’t sound like as much fun, and it isn’t but it can be a useful tool for networking. You just have to know how to use it.

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn by blogger Guy Kawasaki explains to those in the Facebook generation exactly how to get more from the site. Here are some of the highlights of how you can best use LinkedIn.

1. Integrate into a new job. It can help you connect more quickly with your peers by providing you the opportunity to learn about them through their profiles and connections.

2. Ask for advice. LinkedIn Answers allows you to post business-related questions to the entire LinkedIn community.

3. Gauge the health of a company. You can check out former employees and find out what they thought about the previous company they worked for. Uncheck the “current employees only” box, and you can search the listed names to guesstimate turnover rates etc. Did most of the former employees only stay with the company a year? What does that mean for the organization or the industry?

4. Make your interview go smoother. Find out about the person who is interviewing you. Did you go to the same school, volunteer at similar programs, or share connections? These might be good topics to break the ice.

5. Improve your Google PageRank. Ever since the Sex and the City girls began Googling their men, we’ve all been curious about our own Google name search. Making your profile available for search engines to index allows your LinkedIn profile to appear high your name’s search results.

UPDATE: Last week I accepted a position with one of the largest and best PR agencies in Portland. PR job of my dreams? Check.

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June 24, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General, social media.

3 Comments

  1. Tiffany Derville replied:

    Congratulations on your job!

    This is a great post about LinkedIn. You should also consider checking out PR Open Mic and MyRagan. Both are like Facebook for public relations people.

  2. Katy Spaulding replied:

    Thanks Tiffany. I’m really excited about my new job, AND I get to wait until August to start. I couldn’t have imagined anything better.

  3. Chessia replied:

    ok yeah, you are totally right. I started Facebook about 4-5 years ago too and now in the harsh light of the ‘real world’ LinkedIn is pretty awesome. No drunk pictures of you that your corporate boss might find, and it is a super great network. Thanks for all teh hot tips. If you are ever feeling decadent and still want to cruise through the pictures of your friends that you wished you stayed in better touch with or have abandoned you (and teh U.S. dollar) for living abroad, check out the Life Changing Box. I am working on doing PR for it currently, and its a silly fun way to perhaps use those surfing hours for a prize. Click on the box, and if it opens while it is in your possession (sort of a hot potato game) you win the trip to nyc or lcd tv or whatever cool prize is on the inside. Probably the best way to capitalize on the fallout of the dollar. (oh yeah, except for joining LinkedIn and getting a great job of course!)

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