LinkedIn lesson – power and capriciousness of the network

As the saying goes, "everything’s bigger in Texas" and Marc Freedman‘s DallasBlue network is no exception.  I don’t know him personally, but he is clearly a very successful professional networker and an email pointed out some ways in which he and others are evolving LinkedIn beyond its core offerings.  This is consumer-led innovation in its purest form.  Some of the details:

Professionals are clearly getting value from LinkedIn, to the extent that they are creating new business opportunities that LI should consider offering themselves!

However, less than a day after the email went out, Marc’s LinkedIn account was shut down.  Apparently the message motivated enough people to report Marc in violation of the LI user agreement, passing some undisclosed tipping point of no return.

One person’s value-add is another’s spam.  Even though these links are augmenting the LinkedIn brand and business, it’s only fair to treat Marc as any other member of the community and enforce the rules in similar fashion.  It looks like he’s doing OK though – already back up to 500+ connections.

A couple suggestions for LinkedIn to improve their core offering:

  • Make it easier for users to "break" connections, without having to contact customer service.  (i.e. don’t hold me hostage to my network!)
  • Give users an warning indicator, like the AIM flame level.  In this case, it probably heated up like a microwave, but for most people it would be more like Boston in the spring (i.e. slow, perhaps never).

I guess you’re fine as long as you’re using the social network for good not evil…whatever that may mean.

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