Archive for August 2010

Streamlining my LinkedIn Network – Optimizing for Alliances   2 comments

I took advantage of a summer break to review my LinkedIn network of contacts.

  

My initial objective was: to distinguish various kinds of contacts and focus on the most valuable and significant for my core business: alliance management.

My end result was: to focus my use of LinkedIn as a business social network and therefore to select and categorize contacts more specifically.

 

Other results:

  • Clearer, consistent criteria for selecting new acquaintances to invite and others to disconnect from and migrate to other networks
  • A network of approximately 700 contacts, down from 940, including some 250 people I am fully comfortable working with in their own specialties, and 170 fellows – present or former practitioners of alliances management and channels management

The main tool I had and used is tagging – easier to manipulate and query than facebook’s categories, still requiring substantial manual work. It is still pretty difficult to use in network reporting and analysis.

 

A few lessons I learned:

  • Any social network, even a very specialised one like LinkedIn, can be used for a number of purposes – anything from harvesting of thousands of random connections to seeking new sales opportunities to promoting one’s brand. Choosing one main purpose changes both what you do with the network and what makes your connections more significant.
  • As you focus your use of a social network in a given direction, you do loose something: a more focused network of contacts is a more partial contact manager and an even more limited visibility tool for yourself than a broader one.

    When you use a social network for a relatively long time (I joined LinkedIn in April 2004) both the platform’s capabilities and your own needs change. Adapting to these changes requires significant network review and maintenance.
    Today most network platforms’ capabilities are geared to shorter term needs, so this maintenance is essentially a manual activity.

This makes me look forward to some evolutions in social network platforms:

  • Better support for cross-network integration, both within each network’s platform and with cross-network tools. I believe today what is available focuses on integrating input from multiple networks for more effective consumption – making the pipehose of network interactions easier to drink from.
    Two sets of tools may help here: offline contact management tools integrating with social networks, and federation services among social networks. The latter will especially help view and manage a profile across networks, such as a business and a personal interaction network.
  • Better support for contact analysis and manipulation within each network’s platform.
    Today, when assessing a contact’s merits, you are basically left alone perusing their profile across networks and on your offline notes and history of exchanges.

 

Posted August 13, 2010 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

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