Weekly Wrap 44 and 45

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. As has happened several annoying times before, we’re covering two weeks at once here, and the National Broadband Network seems to have dominated.

For some reason I usually have an unproductive spot of poor health in the first half of April. It seems 2011 is no exception. For two weeks of work this all looks a bit thin, and I daresay that’s going to make a mess of my cashflows in a couple of weeks.



Media Appearances

  • On Monday 4 April I was one of the guests on an episode of ABC Radio National’s Australia Talks on the NBN. The audio is available via that link just there, the one you just read past.

Corporate Largesse


Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Wentworth Falls railway station, photographed yesterday during some light rain.]

Getting to grips with LinkedIn

Thanks to my recent posts about my confusion about the point of LinkedIn and coming to the conclusion that LinkedIn is a giant Rolodex, I was treated by their PR firm to a briefing session. Here’s what I learned.

On Monday Shiva Kumar, an associate director at Edelman, spent 90 minutes over coffee running through the advanced features, mostly following the sequence of items in How Journalists Use LinkedIn.

The key lesson for me was that while LinkedIn is certainly useful for recruiters and job-hunters, it’s even more powerful when you think of it as a global database of professionals and their skills, experiences and connections, and use it for smart data mining — and by that I mean data mining that’s aware of the structure of people’s working relationships.

Continue reading “Getting to grips with LinkedIn”

So LinkedIn is a giant Rolodex, eh?

The other day I expressed my confusion over the point to LinkedIn. I now have the answer, thanks to an overwhelming number of comments. It’s a giant self-updating Rolodex. And it’s main use is recruitment — employees or freelancers finding work, or recruiters looking for staff.

That explains why it wasn’t making sense to me: I’m not in any of those categories. And when I am looking for work, well, I do media stuff. The people I’d want to contact are very public and easy to find. And I’m not wanting to “grow my business”. Fuck I hate that phrase.

That said, I can see that LinkedIn might be a useful tool for keeping track of the various people I interview for my media projects. Provided that LinkedIn allows me to add my own private notes to contacts — does it? — I’ll give it a go for a couple months and report back.

What also intrigued me is that having my comments posted on Hacker News led to a 2300% spike in traffic overnight — as well as a few people pimping their own internet start-ups. A different culture. Personally, I find the idea of drive-by commenting on a stranger’s website to promote your business to be… tasteless.

I agree with several people’s point that as a social network there isn’t much social in LinkedIn. People only checked back infrequently — such as when they were looking for jobs. I can see that LinkedIn is trying to encourage you to use the site more often, what with groups and stuff, but I got the feeling that this isn’t the way most people use the site. Am I right there?

Finally, as one person put it on Twitter, LinkedIn seems most useful for people who use “network” as a verb. Harsh, but fair.

[Update 30 March 2011: I’ve received a briefing session on LinkedIn, which I’ve now written about in Getting to grips with LinkedIn. I’ll close comments here and you can continue the conversation over there.]

I just don’t get LinkedIn, do you?

I’ve tried. I’ve tried several times. And every time I try looking at LinkedIn I always end up staring at it and thinking, “What is the point?”

OK, I do get part of it, that it’s sharing your network of contacts so that everyone can benefit. But to me it seems like a lot of overhead for an as-yet-undefined benefit. It’s Yet Another Database To Maintain.

That, and I get frustrated because there doesn’t seem to be a neat way of saying that I’m a freelancer, working for myself and not a company, and that I want to connect to people in that capacity. See what I mean?

So are you using LinkedIn? How do you get value from it? What am I missing?

[Update 30 March 2011: I’ve closed comments on this post, and on the follow-up post, So LinkedIn is a giant Rolodex, eh? You can continue the conversation at my most recent post, Getting to grips with LinkedIn.]