571 words — 3 minutes read

LinkedIn LockedOut

One week after I found out about LinkedIn and promptly started to invite a number of my business contacts.

So far, this hasn’t led to me being part of a “the total is greater than the sum of it’s part’s” network. In fact, I’m part of a 5 person network with me being the most well connected person in it.

So what’s wrong, what went wrong?

During the first two days of being a LinkedIn member, I sent out 38 invitations with an indivdual text, describing in my words the benefits of such a system and links to the Many-to-many list and to my homepage. Most of the people are regulars of mine, some of them I dug up for the occasion (People I’ve been in school with for example).

I got three emails back, and all in all 5 people joined my network. No reaction from the others (if you disregard two “out of office” messages). Why so few?

The contacts in my network haven’t added any new people to their networks as far as I can tell.


  1. My contacts don’t like messages that say “Join my network”. Or maybe their spam filters don’t like those messages? Now they are annoyed with me for sending them this

  2. My contacts aren’t exposed to blogs and haven’t read the whole buzz about LinkedIn

  3. It’s extremely difficult to jumpstart a network of connections

  4. They don’t see the benefits of joining LinkedIn

I lean towards the last three points, but let’s examin them in order:

ad 1) That should be easy to confirm or reject: Call them (mailing them might be a bad idea now ;-)

ad 2) Except for vowe I know of nobody in my contact list that actively reads blogs. So nobody has been exposed to the chatter and excitement the last few weeks about LinkedIn.

ad 3) What value is one fax machine? None at all - if there isn’t another fax machine on the other end. Same with networks. What is the value of a network with just one hub with 2-3 connectiosn? Close to zero. Coupled with 3 (below) there is little incentive to join something unknown. But maybe that’s the point of LinkedIn - somewhere I read that it should be “exclusive” (or is that spelled “elite”?). It seems that you have to belong to the digerati to get value from it…

ad 4) Looking at LinkedIn’s site whithout knowlegde of what it is, that is so great about it, doesn’t give you a good idea of what is going to happen when / if you join. Also, it looks more like a “snowballing” mechanism and people are weary of that - all of them have seen these schemes come and go. Some of them are fed up with anything “viral”.

I still think that LinkedIn has the power to be something great and I believe in networks of people spanning the globe. Maybe my message to my contacts wasn’t clear enough about the benefits. OTOH: I don’t know those benefits personally (not being part of a larger network) so I can only rely on the hearsay of the bloggers. Still I think that LinkedIn could do a better job explaining what they offer, what the benefits are.

I have an idea for another type of network forming - getting my old class from MNG back together for a meeting. More on that in future entry.

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician