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A recent article by Sarah Jane Tribble in the New York Times speaks of how social networking sites like LinkedIn have helped people get jobs in tough times- through their network of contacts. The figures about LinkedIn are very impressive. Apparently it has more than 25 million members with an addition of 1.2 million per month. LinkedIn’s philosophy is “Relationships Matter”. Here are the benefits of joining LinkedIn.

My experience with LinkedIn has been fairly positive. I now have over 500 contacts. At this stage of my life and career, I have used LinkedIn mainly to stay in touch with old friends and guide and advise new ones.

I have followed these principles ever since I became a member.

  1. I don’t accept invitations to connect from people I don’t know. I believe the quality of the contact is more meaningful then the number of contacts you have.
  2. I don’t recommend people whose work I have no personal experience of- even though I may know them. This is based on the rationale that others will take decisions based on these recommendations.

I have found LinkedIn to be useful in understanding issues that concern people today. I like to read the questions asked and the answers given. When time permits, I have given a few answers myself.

All in all, I would recommend LinkedIn as a useful social networking tool. Remember it has its limitations. By no means does knowing people translate to immediate gains – in business or otherwise. Used effectively, it can lead you to interact with a better set of accomplished professionals and business leaders with whom you can share- and learn.

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This is Post No: 255 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.