Reference: The Network Effect - Part 1 (2007-02-19)

What a difference 4 months makes. My LinkedIn statistics have improved by 123 direct, over 26,000 2nd degree and 750,000+ 3rd degree connections:

The ratio of my 2nd degree to 1st degree connections on LinkedIn is now 164, in February it was 146. I believe this is related to two causes:

  1. direct connections with greater variability of relationship (not all from shared employers) so there is less overlap in the 2nd degree connections
  2. time. Akin to passively managed index linked investments, time is on your side. So, invest now young fella and stay invested. One day you'll be able to retire richer than you can imagine.

The ratio of my 3rd degree to 1st degree connections is 5600. Imagine that - by adding just one connection to your network you can easily reach 5600 people with referrals through your network. As LinkedIn gains popularity as a Job Board this has a direct benefit for your career management. Also, LinkedIn is now doing a great job with Answers, an anti-forum approach to asking your network questions and receiving considered and well researched responses (in exchange for valued expertise rankings and general good karma). My: questions and answers.

Since my previous post on this topic I have begun using Facebook as well. After long ignoring all but LinkedIn, Facebook is the first of the friendster / myspace / hi5... social networks that has value for professional networking with the added spice of personal profiles and interactions. I was first attracted to Facebook through a blog posting of one of my professional contacts discussing Facebook groups with professional appeal. All of the local user groups I belong to have representation on Facebook and it is a great place to discover like minded people and have engaging conversations.

I have tested LinkedIn answers vs. Facebook groups for harnessing the wizdom of crowds and so far am much more impressed with the results achieved on LinkedIn. Both LinkedIn and Facebook are now moving in on the space of domain specific forums / bulletin boards where crowds gather to discuss issues of importance to them. I believe that this should be encouraged as it scales much easier to maintain profile information in few places which can be leveraged in many scenarios while interacting with different communities of interest.

There is a very high percentage overlap in my contact base between LinkedIn and Facebook. But I expect to always have more casual friends on Facebook (not in the way that I will network openly with potential professional contacts on LinkedIn) and more professional contacts on LinkedIn.

The benefits of networking are many, but don't forget to protect your critical ID info for online privacy.

Remembering not to forget the real world of offline social networking and events, today I am looking forward to a Bar Mitzvah and Ariyeh's 2nd birthday party!

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