As the invitations arrived, it was difficult to know what the response should be? Accept all or be selective?

Those are the kinds of questions that come with an invitation to join someone’s Linkedin network, and to a lesser extent some I had not heard of, Naymz and Plaxo, until the invitations arrived. How many contacts does one person need? Should I reject an invitation or simply let the invitation expire?  Is accepting all driven by network envy? How many networks does any person need to participate in?

It’s early in the game, and the game is like any other set of business products in that there will be entries into the market and most won’t make it.

Social networking is not new. It’s how business works. It’s how life works. What is new is the ease with which it is accomplished and the ability to collaborate online. What we also don’t know the exact applications of these networks. It’s already clear that networks can be used to find people with specialized skills. As a journalist, I believe there’s a potential for using a network to acquire information after a person who might not want to provide it or to gain insight and background about a person from different sources.

I suspect that networking as simply a way of creating hyperlinked contact lists is not the mature tool that will be available to consumers or business users. My guess is that these networks will ultimately be used to share information and data, perhaps used in conjunction with blogs. The probability of incorporating additional content is already suggested by the extensive profiling information that can be entered on Linkedin. It’s easy to visualize the profile page developing into a dashboard for accessing a variety of applications. Why wouldn’t Linkin and the other providers want to extend the reach of their products?

Or maybe these tools will just be used to say “Hi.”


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