This post completes an interview with Konstantinos Kasekas, whose 8,500 LinkedIn contacts qualify him as a super user. The first part appeared last week.
Q: Are there any tricks of the trade for using LinkedIn you would care to share?
Kasekas: If someone sees the merit of maintaining a larger, looser network, versus a smaller, trusted network, I would recommend they also loosen the criteria determining who they add to their network. Personally, before I ran out of invitations, I would invite everyone to join my group. My friends, colleagues, contacts, people I would interview, people I would have a passing conversation with – everyone. Please note that inviting people you don’t know is a violation of the LinkedIn user agreement, so you should stop short of that.
Q: How do you invite people?
Kasekas: Do not send out one of those “generic” boilerplate invitations, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” because it depersonalizes an already impersonal medium. And when you get an invitation, whatever you decide to do, always try and respond to every personalized invitation with an email “thanks for sending me the invitation”. This helps differentiate you as a LinkedIn member who GETS it. And will help you stand out.
For a more thorough list check out my blog entry On LinkedIn Size Does Matter.
Q: Is there a saturation point where the flow of information through LinkedIn becomes so heavy that it overwhelms?
Kasekas: Oh, absolutely. I hit that point about two years ago, when I hit the 2,000 1st contacts mark. I have turned all my email notifications off. If I were to get an email notification for everything that occurred within my network I would have crashed my email server a long time ago. This is a key problem when you are a communication hub in such a large network; how do you differentiate meaningful communication from noise? It takes time, that’s all I can say. To be candid, it is more of an art than a science. There is at least one near miss, I can recall, when a potential client sent me an inmail, asking us to participate in a global RFP. It was a completely unsolicited contact and the message was almost lost in the hundreds of inmails that sit on my LinkedIn mailbox. The good news is that I did find it in time and was able to garner some valuable conversations from the message. Have other such messages fallen through the cracks? Probably, but it is the price I pay for being at the center of the network.
Long term, this has implications for all users. It’s like banner ads. At first they had a big impact, now people block them out as visual noise. The discussions and news portions of groups are becoming irrelevant, except for questions in key groups;
Q: What are coming advances we might expect as LinkedIn develops?
Kasekas: They are trying to integrate better communications like Twitter and notes function. People have realized that LinkedIn has advantages, so active participation is going up. Profiles are becoming more developed, so content is improving.
I think there is a risk that it is becoming too much of everything for everybody. That risks alienating users. Then it might be leapfrogged. Superusers find paid services less valuable.