Networking is an important part of making contact. In fact it's probably how most deals come into being. We buy from people we trust and we can only trust them by getting to know them. Increasingly, this trust is being established electronically. Perhaps through a blog or perhaps through a trust-based linking service like LinkedIn.
Turns out that my 45 LinkedIn contacts have generated a network of 627,000 people. It would be nice if one or two offered me some work, but this doesn't seem to be how the system operates. Puzzled at the deathly silence, I decided to write to my contacts to find out their experience of LinkedIn. Twenty one have replied so far. For many the result was similar but, equally, some found it very useful.
Rather than try to interpret the results, I have categorised the responses by country and by number of LinkedIn contacts for each group (in brackets). The total contributions adds up to more than twenty one because some people made more than one comment.
One thing which became clear is that the US is far more enthusiastic about this sort of activity. Two people - both Brits - but one working in France, the other in the USA - made this observation.
Here goes then. Interpret as you see fit and, if you have something to say, please feel free to comment.
Better for US - one France (32) and one US (130)
Waste of time - one UK (62)
Silent - four UK (80) and one Sweden (39)
No time to investigate/Unsure of benefits - one UK (2) and one Sweden (39)
Reticent/selective - four UK (90) and one Sweden (39)
Occasional use - four UK (192) and one US (76)
Receive invites - four UK (80) and one France (13)
Used as go-between - one UK (79) and one US (130)
Useful for search - four UK (151), one France (2) and one US (130)
Have to be proactive - two UK (164)
LinkedIn is the best - one US (130)
The last person had conducted extensive research last year into the different suppliers.
I dare say that if I fed all the answers back to all of the participants, the numbers in some of the categories would swell.
PS Although I wrote to people for purely personal reasons, I was so intrigued at what I discovered, I turned it into a post. One person said "I didn't know you were doing research for publication". I explained and she was fine about it. But if anyone who wrote to me is unhappy with this post, please let me know and I will blank it immediately. Thanks.