You’ve heard of early adopters – people who are at the vanguard of everything, queuing overnight to see the latest movie or buy the newest book, constantly upgrading their technology? Well, that’s not me: I’m a laggard. I still have an oyster-style mobile phone; my husband kindly gave me a smartphone recently, but I’ve had to hand it back because I couldn’t work out how to switch it on. So it’s taken me a while to warm to LinkedIn. In fact, I still haven’t warmed exactly – let’s just say I’m defrosting.
I don’t disagree with the concept at all – like Friends Reunited and Facebook, I think it has its uses in encouraging people who already know each other to keep in touch. But, like most of the Internet, it has no oversight: you can say whatever you want on there. (Although I assume that if I updated my profile to say that I had just won the Man Booker prize, someone would contact LinkedIn to say that I was telling porkies – but there’s no guarantee. And if my porky were rather less grandiose, no-one might notice at all.) And I receive about three invitations a week to connect to people on LinkedIn. Most of them sound like jolly nice chaps and girls, often in fascinating-sounding jobs in glamorous locations. But how am I to know? And if I “connect”, might someone else assume that I therefore know this person and am in some way endorsing them? “If Sue says she knows them, then they’re probably genuine…”. So I now accept invitations to connect only from people I have actually met in the flesh – which rather defeats the virtual nature of the LinkedIn network, doesn’t it?
And let’s not forget that I am in the lucky position of being able to make up my LinkedIn policy on the fly. That’s the way it is with a one-person business – I can rattle off three or four juicy policies before elevenses. But for those of you working in larger businesses, what is your LinkedIn policy for staff members? Can they access LinkedIn at work, and mention their current projects? If they connect to someone, could it be assumed that the company – rather than just the individual – is giving a stamp of approval to the connectee? It was so much easier when all business networking was done at the club or the pub.