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LinkedIn ... Good and Bad

I have been using the social networking site LinkedIn for some time now. I don't use it a lot, and I am by no means an expert user ... but I do have some observations.

1. It is a great tool for recruiters looking to find specific people or people with specific skills.
2. It is a great tool for sales people, tracking down ex-colleagues particularly in the technology world as they tend to adopt these kind of tools first.
3. It can be a nuisance when people you don't know or barely know contact you to "link in". I was caught by this early on and have a couple of "professional linkers" linked to me.
4. It seems to be all but impossible to "unlink" once you are linked in ... which is a pain.
5. The concept of testimonials is strange ... I have seen a number of people on LinkedIn with "glowing testimonials" and yet I know better. I guess its a case of "buyer beware" but if a group of friends all decide to write glowing testimonials about each other then it can be deceiving.
6. Many people have no security on their lists of contacts ... that is nice for me because I can look at people I know and see if they have mutual acquaintances who I can then contact. However ... a competitor might look at that list as potential targets, or a recruiter might target my contacts.

The concept of networking over the internet in today's high paced global economy is very appealing. Its an easier way to stay in touch with colleagues and friends who are spread out running at what seems to be the normal pace of the 21st century. For that alone I think LinkedIn is a tool I will continue to use.

Having said that, like most busy people I have not taken time to learn the tool properly and I might still be open to some kind of online abuse ... like all tools there is a price to pay. So my advice is to take a look at this tool, try it out ... but be aware of the potential dangers.