If one is going to affect meaningful change in the face of LinkedIn's passive-aggressive resistance toward you and other vocal “activists” -- anticipating that the majority will continue to squeeze LinkedIn for as long as gives them a drop of something and eventually abandon you on to luxuriate on the moral high-ground – it seems to me that perhaps you should consider the value of sticking it out over packing it in.
So reads one of the comments in a long, interesting conversation in the RecruitingBlogs.com forum. (If you don't scan the forum regularly, you're missing an important part of the ecosystem at RBC.). In last week's issue of Digging Into RecruitingBlogs.com, there was a pointer to the discussion as it began to emerge.
With little fanfare, Vincent Wright closed his LinkedIn account. (Oh, here's the actual conversation in the forums: Leaving Linkedin To Linkedin: Voluntarily Closing 4,000 Connection ...)
That may seem insignificant until you consider Vince's "stats". Above all else, he was a power user, putting the limits and opportunities of the LinkedIn universe to the test. Rugged mileage from Power users can be a powerful tool for systems developers. There just aren't very many LinkedIn users like Vince
1. Member in good standing since February 23, 2004
2. First Level Connections: 4,042
3. Recommendations: 144 (38 co-workers, 17 clients, 89 partners)
4. User Generated Groups: 95
5. Memberships in those groups: ~50,000+
6. Associated social media groups, blogs, and forums created off Linkedin: ~1,000
7. Memberships in groups I've created OFF Linkedin: ~75,000+
8. Groups supported ON Linkedin: 214 (unknown number of members)
9: Groups supported OFF Linkedin: ~1,200 (well over 1 Million members)
Social systems generally consider themselves lucky to have members like Vince. Hard working and seemingly omnipresent, they create context and opportunity for the rest of the audience. In the startup days of online community, these are the voices that create the infrastructure.
The discussion surrounding his departure is a good study in the range of perspectives of early adopters. While LinkedIn seems to be everywhere in our little piece of the universe, we (Recruiters) are among the few people who actually use the tool to accomplish things. The range and diversity of opinion about how to use the service (expressed in the conversation) will give you some ideas about how to more productively engage similar tools.
It's the dawn of many to many communications (that's what social networking software really is). The rules are unclear, it's like the wild, wild west. Opinions are strong.
Early adopters create value, they do not purchase it. The likelihood that any of the social networking tools in our current arsenals will be around five years from now (remember AltaVista?) is silliness. Stories like Vince's will play out over and over again as user expectations and supplier performance diverge.Smart services will harness the input.
I expect we'll see a lot of those stories here in the RBC community. It's a ringside seat. Pull up a chair.