MMLGF 3: Exporting information and generating alerts from LinkedIn Groups

August 24, 2007

Making websites with APIs and Feeds has its sense. When providing an API anyone could build great services over the website existing platform achieving benefits for themselves (offering new services for users on the existing website) and the existing website (promoting it). By providing Feeds, not only website’s information and data could be exported automatically by software components but also, and more important, could be read and used offline or at least, being disconnected from the source website.

Feeds give websites the chance to export information and consume external services automatically. Feeds consumers (web applications like netvibes.com or popurl.com and especially Feed Readers like Google Reader, bloglines.com or desktop feed readers like BlogBridge) let users a way to consume different website and applications information without going into websites but also, in some cases, exporting the information to see what they want or need.

As I mentioned in a previous post applied to LinkedIn.com Question and Answer section, filtering and combination of feeds is also very useful when thinking about LinkedIn Groups (or this “LinkedIn Groups” idea I have in my mind). But, wouldn’t be better for users to have Feed Exportation of specific user’s queries they need or want inside Linkedin, instead of going offsite with feeds URL and make that “filter and combine” onto other website?

Using Feeds from users’ queries and adding advanced search functionality to LinkedIn Groups would let find and export information like:

  • Questions from a whole Group
  • A particular thread (A Question and its answers)
  • A Threads list where some users had asked or answer (yourself, one of your connections or someone you just want to know what he is talking about).
  • Queries results I talked about on MMLGF #2 to get questions or threads:
    • Matching specific keyword search.
    • Asked/answered by your connections.
    • Popular threads.
    • Asked/answered today.
    • Asked/answered by some people you are interested in.
    • Tagged by you before.

But, feeds are not everything… we can think about receiving alerts into email inbox, LinkedIn inbox or even directly to our mobile phone. That way, we can be offline but completely online all the time reading feeds into our feed readers from specific queries we want and receiving some alerts into many different ways…

Definitely, with all this, LinkedIn Groups will be great!!!

This is post #3 of the (M)aking the (M)ost of (L)inkedIn (G)roups (F)unctionality (MMLGF) Series.

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Different levels of Tags Sharing in Business Social Networks (LinkedIn)

July 30, 2007

In my last post I wrote about sharing tags between users to help and be helped in finding the right user/s on your network that fill better your needs.

There are two issues here: private research or marks and visibility over the network.

The first one is that maybe, sometimes you are looking for or researching about something actually private so you don’t want to share your tags. For example, maybe you want to put a tag indicating that this is the better choice for something or you want to mark someone just to remember you to come back later to see this user profile and you don’t want (logically) to share this kind of things.

The other one is about visibility of tags. We can think about restricting tag coverage and visibility to some different levels:

  • Just me (private: previous paragraph)
  • Me and my connections
  • Me and my entire network (maybe it’s difficult to calculate tags from all my network)
  • Me, my connections and his connections
  • The entire users network (public)

Maybe the first two options are the most imaginable ways of tag’s scope. The first one for the reason I gave above and the second one because we are using tag’s scope just in our scope or visibility of people and that is direct connections. That way I will be sharing our tags with my direct connections and in the same way, they will be sharing their tagging information with me.

That would convert Linkedin or any Business Social Network into an actual Social network, because we are making a community and also we are sharing important information with our connections like, for example, tags.


Share TAGS into business Social Networking (Linkedin sample)

July 27, 2007

After my last posts about tags and its advantages, I added some links to my del.icio.us that let me see some pictures of how tags can be applied in business social networking.

What did I see? When you see your del.icio.us links, you can get information about how many other del.icio.us users have recorded the same link

delicious.jpg

So, what did I see? Imagine tagging people while surfing on any business social networking site. Imagine using those tags to search, but not your tags only but tags from any user on your network, or in the entire business social network website.

By sharing tags you can see and search over profiles not only from the information users tell about themselves but also from the information other users add about others. That way, when someone adds a tag to somebody, he/she is sharing this information with a lot of people and in the same way he is also seeing what other people had made before.

Imagine if any profile can look like the following image. As you see in the right side there is a Tag box with tagging information from you, your connections and the connections of the people you are looking at.

tag-linkedin-3.jpg


About Penelope’s 7 Rules of LinkedIn Etiquette

July 24, 2007

I’m posting to talk about Penelope Trunk’s post about 7 rules on Linkedin posted in her blog and in the official linkedin blog. I agree with her in some topics but I don’t agree in others. Truly, there are two issues I don’t agree with her, while all the others we think in the same way, but although one of those issues are not so important I guess the other one is actually very important.

 

I think something very important she says in her first rule: “Don’t say yes to an invitation from a person you don’t really know”. When I started using Linkedin, I received some invitations from people I didn’t know just asking me to be a direct connection, I made the mistake to add them because I don’t have much experienced in this kind of website but some time later I realized that I didn’t want to receive invitations from anywhere that could not answer me my welcome message where I introduce myself and ask to the other to tell me about himself/herself and that never contact me in this time I stay connected with them. This kind of users just let me grow my network but no more than that, they never contacted me or answer me and probably they just wanted to have lot of connections.

 

Again, as she says: “In that respect, your network on LinkedIn is really only as strong as your ties to the people in it“. Although this is completely true, we all know that we know perfectly all of our connections. We have some top linked people that just let us grow our 2nd and 3rd level in our network and we probably are connected to those top linked people just for that. But it’s truly important we have most of our connections actually tie to us, so they can recommend us, so we can recommend them and also to do business together.

 

But (this is our first non-agreement 🙂 ) she mentions in the same paragraph: “You will get more benefits from LinkedIn if you have a network of 30 people you know well than 300 people you don’t really know“.  I think if Linkedin provided us with some way to classify our connections with TAGS (I wrote a post about tags to classify in business social networking sites) and a quite more advanced inbox (I also wrote a post about that) then we could organize all of our connections in the way we want to. We could have lot of connections and have some of them (maybe 30) that we know very well , maybe another 30 that we know who are they exactly and what are they doing and maybe another 300 with just people you consider interesting and maybe another 30 that just act as hubs.

 

Moving forward to her second rule (“Don’t send invitations to people who don’t know you.”) she is completely right. If you agree with the previous issue, then don’t do what you don’t like to the others.

 

In her third rule she says “Someone who puts their email address right under their name is announcing that they will connect with anyone, and for the purposes of LinkedIn, this will weaken their network“, and I’d like to ask? Is that ok? The first reason of this website is to make a business network and give their email address is like saying: “I’m available for business” or “this is the way you can contact me if you need some of my services”. I think the email address is not the problem, I think the email address solves a problem on linkedin that is the impossibility to contact the people you need to contact to do business. In a previous post on my blog I comment something that should solve the problem of the email address.

 

Number five (“Remind me how I know you“) is really important to introduce you to the other and number seven (“Keep things a little informal“) is also important for today business world.

 

Just to close this post, I think Penelope’s seven advices about how to use LinkedIn are very important and useful to read. I agreed with her and I also disagreed but all opinions are important to add value to this great business network linkedin is.

 


Linkedin Messaging System

July 19, 2007

Some weeks ago one of my connections at Linkedin.com was looking for a non well-known man of the automotive industry because, I guess, my contact has something interesting to offer to that man. As they are not directly connected, my contact tried to find the other man by a forward as a third degree connection (the first was me and the second was Ron Bates, maybe the biggest hub on LinkedIn) and today, I still don’t know if he had contacted to that man or not.

Are you seeing the same problem than me?

I think LinkedIn should implement a new and quite a lot more advanced messaging system. Why? Something I see as a positive thing in LinkedIn, that could be discussed later, is that now you can’t send message to anyone you want, because that way and with the current messaging system you avoid some people to suffer in his LinkedIn inbox what they has in their own mailbox: tons of spam, filtering , rules, etc. I see this impossibility to send messages to anyone as a solution, but not as a good one.

Coming back to the real story about my connection and his intend to make contact with some “far away from him on the LinkedIn network” user. Maybe that “someone” user was expecting or searching a guy that could give what my connection has to give, and due to the hard way my connection must does to get to that “someone” , they lack the chance to get connected and do the business they want to or need to.

As a conclusion, in my opinion LinkedIn needs an advanced messaging system that let users not directly connected to communicate keeping in mind two important issues:

  • Let users send messages but with some restrictions so senders cannot spam (for example someone that wants to send a message offering his services to all or some people of a specific industry).
  • Let users configure what kind of message they want to receive (for example, maybe someone don’t want to hear about anyone on some specific industry to communicate, or someone living on a specific country, or if the message contains specific words, or simply whatever they want).

LinkedIn would model an advanced message inbox with different folders for each level of indirection and also with certain folders for specific people, for answers, and also for people that has been tagged in some way. This way each user will have the power to decide what messages want to read, receive or prioritize and as a result, and going back to the story both my contact and the automotive industry man would do business if and only if they want to, without restrictions.


Advantages of using TAGS into business Social Networking

July 16, 2007

After my last post “Using TAGS in Business Social Networking” I keep thinking on what interesting it would be make a list with some pros and cons of this idea so here I start..

Pros

  • We will see direct contacts just as another group and not as our only group.
  • We can tag people inside our direct contacts group to get more detailed views of our own contacts. We can tag people for example by
    • Where they come from
    • Industry in which they are working on
    • Why they are useful for you as a direct contact
    • What you can offer to them as a direct contact
  • Advanced and Personalized search using tags as part of LinkedIn search keywords.
  • Chance to build better business services personalized for people on each tag group.
  • Chance to build better relationships and connections with people on each tag group.
  • Chance to share tags with all community or at least with some of your contacts just to help them.

Cons

  • Advanced configuration needed, but predefined settings could reduce this problem.
  • Controlling TAGs will cause problems, but a good GUI should reduce this problem, and again, the chance to not use TAGs is always there.

Could you add more pros and cons?


Using TAGS on Linkedin or in any Business Social Networking

July 15, 2007

Yesterday I was reading a question and their corresponding answers on LinkedIn and I find that the man who is asking and two of the answerers are saying something very interesting that I guess it would be useful for me in the future. Also, this kind of question and answers let me think about it would be interesting to take notes of people names just in case I want to make contact with them or they contact me somewhere in the future or I just should want to read their answers or questions.

What if we can find a way to tag people the way we want so we can make a difference between all the other people and these “mark as interesting” ones? What if we can say “this is an interesting people I would need to contact to do something” or “this is someone I would want to find when I search on some specific issue he proved to be expert” or just “this is a disgusting man I won’t never contact or be interested in being contact by”?

Why we cannot apply the same tagging idea that we apply on our everyday bookmarks or favorites URLs into our social networking environment?

I will for sure think and write some pros and cons on using tags into linkedin or any other business Social Networking website