LinkedIn is a popular social networking site. It's probably the most well-established, business-friendly of the social media Web sites out there. It's been described as "Facebook in khaki" because of its business-casual, mild-mannered design. There's little you can do to pimp out your page; LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking platform.
I first joined LinkedIn years ago, setting up a profile and finding friends and colleagues to link up with. After that, I didn't do much outside of accept (or decline) someone's heart felt request of:
– Your ex-employee / One-time vendor / College dormmate / Random Dude
You had me at "I'd like."
However, I find I'm spending a bit more time there as more tools have been rolled out. None of these are game changing; in fact, they're pretty derivative of other social media sites. But if your peers are on LinkedIn and unlikely to be found at MySpace or Facebook, these new features up the interaction quotient quite a bit.
A while back, LinkedIn created Answers, where people could ask or answer public questions, establishing expertise and networking all the while. Now LinkedIn has Groups, where you can join or create a group. A group could be alumni of your alma mater, a local networking group, or even people of a particular religious or political persuasion. Like the basic membership at LinkedIn, there's no charge to join or create a group.
Groups come with some nice features. Groups can enable discussion boards or post news articles for discussion. Hmmm…actually that kind of sounds like the same thing except the latter comes with an upload feature.
Sending an email blast to the group isn't as easy as it could be. LinkedIn seems to have made a decision to disallow a bulk email to go out to group members. Instead you can initiate a discussion through the discussion forum, or download the csv list of members and email them through your own email program.
Despite the lack of better email tools and the small feature list, I like the use of groups because you can have a more intimate conversation within a group of people who share an interest or a zip code. These type of conversations tend to be more rewarding.
If you haven't been active at LinkedIn for a while, you might want to check out the groups section.