go to: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/76991/
“The primary benefit in creating this
network is to offer association professionals a way to share a common interest
and to find others. It is not a marketing
channel,” Fine says. “You don’t have to
be a Forum member to join.”
If you would like to create a group
of your own on LinkedIn, simply click on
“Create a Group.” As group leader or organizer, you submit your group idea for review
by the Web site’s customer service team.
Once approved, you then send an invitation
to potential members asking them to join.
Despite these benefits, there can be drawbacks. One is that some LinkedIn users
have abused the network with spam messages. It is important that users fight back
against such abuses.
“Early on when I joined, I received a lot
of sales pitches,” Fine says. “But the network is self-policing and those who abused
the network were quickly dropped. Of all
the social media sites, LinkedIn is surviving because it is a professional network
and its users are respectful of the network.”
carefully the privacy of their colleagues.
LinkedIn itself does not rent or sell personally identifiable user information to third
parties for marketing purposes and states
it will never share any individual contact
information with another user without his/
her consent. However, no system is foolproof so users are urged not to post any
personal information that could be altered
or taken without their permission.
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One of the most powerful benefits of
LinkedIn is the ability to ask contacts in
your network for solutions to professional
challenges. The LinkedIn Answers feature
leverages the power of the user’s trusted
professional network to ask business-related questions and receive industry-specific answers in return.
Miguel Alves Martins, managing partner
at Beyond Sustainable Ideas in Portugal,
is one LinkedIn user who put this feature
to good use. He first heard about LinkedIn
when he came to Chicago last October to
attend a class in nonprofit management
at Kellogg School of Management. The
professors talked about social networks,
including LinkedIn. Martins immediately
signed up and invited all of his classmates.
Today, his LinkedIn network includes more
than 500 connections worldwide.
When Martins needed help finding benchmark initiatives around European Community
government support of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises, he turned to his
LinkedIn network. Within hours of his
inquiry, he received multiple responses from
individuals throughout Europe and the
United States. His connections provided
numerous resources including an extensive
list of Web sites to visit for information.
Like Martins, many LinkedIn users are
finding that the best part of being in the
network is that it is there anytime, just waiting to help you find like-minded colleagues
or the answers to professional challenges.
Are you LinkedIn? Now may be the
time to give it a try.
Susan Nowicki, APR, CAE, is a consulting partner
with .orgSource. She may be reached at