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Re: [newtech-1] Bill Gates links up with LinkedIn

From: Bruce I.
Sent on: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 1:14 PM

Just to give you an alternate point of view; I like LinkedIn, though I don't spend a lot of time there.  Rather than looking at it as a "circle of self aggrandizement ", I view it as an extended address book in my professional life; it allows me to keep references to people I'd like to stay in touch with or at the very least maintain contact information for, and I can track when someone I know has moved from one place to another.  I don't add Bill Gates or Mark Cuban to my circle of friends (I once saw Mark Cuban on someone's contact list on something like that, maybe facebook, and when I clicked through to explore I saw that he had thousands or tens of thousands of close friends :-) ), and if someone I don't know asks me to link, I either ignore the request or ask them if I know them.

So every one of my (currently) 53 contacts are people that I've either worked with or had substantial interaction with.  And while I haven't used it that way much, I do like the fact that I can see 2nd level contacts, where those people have been and who they know, in case I have such a need.

I don't pay for it, so I just use the basic features, FWIW.


On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 8:37 AM, Asif Youssuff <[address removed]> wrote:
EddieN wrote:
> Asif:
> On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 11:42 AM, Asif Youssuff <[address removed]
> <mailto:[address removed]>> wrote:
>     In other news, I removed myself from Linkedin:
> May I ask why? (I'm still assessing LinkedIn to see if it would be of
> any use to me, and I would like to hear from someone who has used the
> service and saw fit to leave.)

Well, my leaving will likely have no bearing on whether you want to
join, but I'll try to explain my reasons for leaving anyway.

First off, I have a basic distrust of social networking in general --
I'm not a huge fan of making some large company make more money by
finding more about me than my friends, and then trying to use that info
to sell to me, or to resell that information to others. The whole
concept strikes me as a bit dishonest.

I looked into integrating disqus for the project I posted about (web
commenting systems) and I took a few minutes to check out a video of the
CEO being interviewed by Scoble. In true startup fashion, the guy
skirted around the business model question -- like Scott, I guess he
feels like it's not so important. But it obviously is. The idea of
giving a company that really *needs* my (or other peoples') info to be
successful should try to find another business model, imo, or try to
provide more value than they currently provide.

Which brings me to my other complaint.

Linkedin is not very useful to me. The network, like pretty much any
other social network, is based around a circle of self aggrandizement --
let everyone know how great of a job I did at my last job, or let people
know how awesome I am. I prefer to let my work speak for me, and allow
what I do, (and not what I represent to be myself) to showcase my

Then there are the community features. Unlike facebook or myspace, where
everything is free, Linkedin seems to follow the adultfriendfinder model
of charging you for anything but the most basic features. The
introductory level of features are not meant to provide value to the
consumer, rather to provide value to Linkedin (and to allow them to make
a better value proposition for asking you to pay them). Want to get
introduced to someone? Pay. Considering that the site is supposed to be
about social networking, it's kinda hard to evaluate them on this (to
figure out whether paying is worth it) until after you have paid. To me,
they weren't providing a good enough case for me to pull the trigger on
my credit card.

The forums on it suck, again, with a whole lot of self-aggrandizement,
and low on content. Or, there are just a host of Victor-like people, who
continually pimp out one solution or idea, demonstrating that they are
not actually familiar with the problems at a more basic level, but are
familiar with products that can (supposedly) solve them. The advice (and
the people) are somewhat mediocre.

I think that it'd be quite a funny world if search engines like google
only came up with results of people's social networking accounts instead
of their web pages and email addresses -- it'd be quite hilarious if
Linkedin or facebook or whoever actually ended up owning social
networking to that degree. Just imagine, paying someone just to get your
email address, or asking you to introduce me to someone. Not a nice
proposition, imo.

I guess that leads me into why I was able to throw off Linkedin. I never
paid, making it harder for me to extricate myself from it, it's features
are not nearly extensive as a Plaxo (which I would point to as a much
better alternative), the quality of the people are more of the "I get
paid for this, so I'm a 'professional'" rather than "I know this, so I
might be able to help you", I find it easier to email/IM/search for
someone in my social network (or a Connector [jargon: see the tipping
point]) or forums that I browse than to try to go through a laborious
process of talking to people that are there only for profit and self
aggrandizement. I still manage to find good people and keep in contact
with people over email/blogs, etc. It works for me, and it happens to be
free (until google starts charging for search results).

Obviously, however, there is a market for these networks, and it's
likely that the kinds of people that join these sites are a perfect fit
for one another, but it just isn't for me.

Eddie, what were your thoughts?


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