Are You Really LinkedIn?

August 7, 2008 •

It’s amazing how much I’ve come to rely on LinkedIn.  Don’t get me wrong – I am  not a social media addict.  I don’t Twitt yet.  MySpace makes me nervous.  I use Facebook, but primarily because I have some clients that are obsessed with it as a business tool.


LinkedIn is different – it’s used (at least by me) for business purposes only.  I use it for research on clients, partners, investors, etc.  I use it to get answers to questions.  I use it to connect with current colleagues, past colleagues, and sometimes for recruiting purposes.

Let me preface my upcoming rant with this – I am not an “open networker”.  I send invitations to connect to people I know and have worked with, and accept invitations to connect from people I know and have worked with.  Personally, I don’t believe in the “open networking” thing because I think it defeats the purpose of a community like LinkedIn, but hey…to each his own.  So now that you know where I stand on that…

What I don’t understand is why people join LinkedIn, connect with a few people, and never fully complete their profiles.  And I am not talking about adding silly pictures.  Tell me where you worked.  Tell me where you went to school.  List your website and/or blog.  At least add the basics, ok?  Assuming you’re connecting with people you know, or even for those of you who connect with people you don’t know, this helps me learn more about you and your business.  The more I know about you, the more I may be able to help you.  If you’re not willing to reveal some details to at least the folks you’re connected with, then I am not sure what the point of participating in LinkedIn really is.

Trust me, I love my anonymity as much as the next guy.  But once you take the LinkedIn leap, you can’t really do it with one foot in and one foot out.


Gil C /

About the Author

As managing partner and chief strategy officer for Right Source, Mike Sweeney is responsible for all content marketing initiatives, including growing the company’s content marketing practice, guiding all client content marketing strategy, and recruiting and growing a team of modern marketers. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame. You can find Mike on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

  • Since several execs among my industrial B2B clients have done exactly this — created but not populated their LinkedIn profiles or avoided LinkedIn altogether — I polled them recently to understand why. #1 reason: FEAR. Two types — discomfort with things not quite understood and concern about exposing their contacts. #2 reason: I NETWORK WITH CEOs AND THEY’RE NOT USING LINKEDIN.

    You may recoil at this — but in many segments, the C-suite isn’t active yet. Or at least not as contributors, so it’s opaque. With exec suite demographics about to undergo disruptive change in the coming years, it’s no stretch to predict that tomorrow’s executive suite leaders will use social networking tools for myriad purposes.

    Of course, there are gritty B2B markets that won’t benefit that much from social tools applied to business processes. Not many, though, when one considers the potential value of supply chain collaboration built on simple social communications tools.

    We’re limited only by the limits of imagination and commitment to improvement.


  • Excellent comment – I get similar responses from some of my B2B clients. Strangely enough, it reminds of the comments I got 5-6 years ago from execs who refused to believe that search engine marketing could ever represent an effective lead generation vehicle. The comments ring in my ears even today, “Executives don’t use Google to find complex or sophisticated software or technology solutions.” Right. The same people that made those comments now spend a bulk of their marketing budgets on search engine lead generation programs.

    I completely agree with you on the idea that certain “gritty” B2B category executives may not benefit from web-based networking tools. Category definitely matters. That being said, I think the generation/age of the user matters as well. While you might not find a lot of > 60 C-level types using LinkedIn, it’s rare that I don’t find LinkedIn profiles on the < 50 C-level types, at least in the "younger", or perhaps "less gritty" industries. Since this original post, I've seen LinkedIn get more and more crowded. More people answering questions even though they're not really qualified to answer questions. More people joining groups that don't exactly fit their profile. More folks posting status updates covering meaningless items. LinkedIn remains a fantastic tool if you know how to use it, but I worry about the abuse factor that occurs in any community that goes "unmanaged" for the most part.

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