Friday, March 14, 2014

Being Unsocial: 2014-Style

Have you ever run into a similar situation when browsing LinkedIn?

When I see this—and, unfortunately, I see it a lot—makes me wonder why do they even have a LinkedIn profile? I mean, it takes some time and effort to create and account and get started entering info and basically writing a chronicle of your work life and experience, objectives, skills, and so on.

It really begs the question...

Why do people even bother?

I try to be fair and I actually read profiles of people who invite me to join their networks. Frankly, I am flattered when someone takes the time to extend an invitation, so I read their information to learn more about who they are, what industry they're in, what they like, etc.

When there's no photo—or worse—a silly image, instead of a nice pic of the person, I immediately question the validity of the profile. As the old cartoon by Peter Steiner (published by The New Yorker on July, 1993) said: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

True and brilliant, at the same time.

Sure, most of us try to be careful with our identities, especially today, and I understand and respect that. But, on the other hand, what truly puzzles me is why then bother to join a networking site? 

Maybe those individuals want to do some research? Possible, but if so why is it that I still receive invitations to join their networks? Those are not automated. The person actually makes the decision to invite others to be a part of their network.

Okay, maybe a photo is not such a big deal, but I consider it important enough and, from what I've seen and read, the trend is for profiles to be not only comprehensive but also accurate. So, if you happen to have a LinkedIn profile without a current photo, you may want to invest some time and have a good picture taken.

But what about the rest of the profile, you say...

Unfortunately, the lack of a photo usually is a good indicator that the profile will be as brief as an old telegram. Seriously, I've seen business cards with more content. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but not by much.

So here's my 0.02 on the subject.

Take the time to write some good content about yourself. No, you don't have to spend 6 hours on it. Just a good 20 minutes every other day adding stuff, editing some, and more. 

This is not a test of some kind. After all, you'll be talking about yourself here, so just be honest about your career, your schooling, hobbies, and that sort of thing. Give yourself about a 2-week window to complete as much as possible of each category. Provide some contact info, your Twitter name (if you happen to have one), your website address, and that sort of thing.

Next thing you know, you'll have a decent-looking profile. One that will tell others enough info that will allow them to make a good and fair decision as to whether to add you to their network, invite you to join a group, and more.

Once you have established a good profile, keep polishing it. It won't be as much work as it was at the beginning but it will be worth it. Just know that it will never be 100% done. 

Now start participating by making relevant posts, asking to join groups that are of interest to you, like and comment on posts made by members of your network, and invite others to add you to theirs. 

Most important, have fun as you grow your network.

Thanks for reading!