A valued client of ours, Kathy Beck of Beck & Co., CPAs (http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybeckcpa) was lamenting whether she should build a LinkedIn profile and start developing virtual networking connections. I suggested that I’d do it when she did it – never expecting her to submit to this silly notion.
Not less than 3 days later and just over a month ago, she sent me an invitation to LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), one of the largest on-line professional networking web sites, with over 26 million members. So, I accepted her invite, built my LinkedIn profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferwilsonprofile) and joined in a communication revolution.
In that short month, I’ve been engaged in a virtual “high school reunion” – not with classmates but instead with 326 (as of this writing) of my former and existing co-workers, employers, business partners, vendors and association/committee members. This incredible tool has enabled me to find people that I worked with back in the Open Systems world, at State Of The Art (now Sage), BDO Seidman and more. I have found former colleagues who have “matured” into pretty powerful professionals and have made connections with clients and contacts that I haven’t been in touch with lately.
It was eye opening to realize that a lot of people that I know professionally were already active on LinkedIn – and it made me realize that I had been missing something by declining invites and hiding from this on-line groundswell. I also discerned that I could spend all day catching up with people and managing my connections if I wasn’t careful – so I quickly relegated LinkedIn to evening and weekend work – just like “in-person” networking has always tended to be.
I can surely see how this type of networking could be great for generating references, staying in touch and certainly during times of job transition. My big question now is will this social networking medium generate a result other than nostalgia, camaraderie and fun? Is there business to be had and money to be made using these mediums for my firm and for my CPA and IT clients? The answer remains to be seen – but we can see the marketing and recruiting possibilities and are committed to explore them further. Stay tuned as we learn more!
And, let us hear from you:
If you’re not using any on-line social networking tools – why not?