posted October 16th, 2009 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

What is LinkedIn?


In their own words: “LinkedIn is an interconnected network of professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional expertise and accomplishments. You can then form connections by inviting contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of people”.


Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape Communications and its flagship web browser Netscape Navigator says he invested in LinkedIn “partly because he believes employees won’t be hired through jobs listings and resumes but through myriad connections.” What does it mean for all of us, if he is right?


James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis write in their upcoming book, Connected, “if you depend on the people you know well for new opportunities, you’ll make perhaps 20 connections. But if you open yourself up to forming loose ties (within three degrees of separation) you’re connected to 8,000 people. That network is huge but it’s not exactly random. Each link has something or someone in common.”


I created a profile on LinkedIn and reached out to many of my contacts to connect with me and I set up a Babes on Bay Street Group which I hope many of you will join. My hope is that we can use LinkedIn to offer others a hand up the ladder. In the words of Susan Pinker in a recent article in The Globe and Mail: “Your tacit knowledge can give someone a leg up and it costs you very little. As investments go, it’s a drop in the bucket, and though the returns are unpredictable, they’re probably better right now than you can find anywhere else”.


In Annie’s story which I posted several weeks ago, she says “it was the women that she met in her career that really impacted her. She says so many of the women were wonderful and supportive and she says if she hadn’t had them when times were difficult, to talk to and work through situations with, there were times when she probably would have given up.  On the other hand, she says there were also women who had climbed up the ladder the hard way, the same way Annie did, but these women chose to roll the ladder up behind them and “there was no goddamned way that any woman was going to get ahead of them or it would be over their dead body”.  She says these women were pretty much out to get other women and in her case there was one in particular who impacted her, but she says it was a good experience because it made her realize that this behaviour was just so terribly wrong and she was going to make sure that she never did that to another woman and if a woman was capable and ambitious then she was going to reach out her hand and help lift her up and even over herself if that’s what happened.  She says in that way it was a good experience”.


In terms of first steps, I encourage you to create a profile on LinkedIn and reach out to your contacts and ask them to connect with you. I would love you to join the Babes on Bay Street group and participate in the social media experiment in digital networking. I have no idea where it will lead, however, I love the possibility of reaching my hand out to anyone who is courageous enough to ask for help and in doing so inspires myself and others to do the same.



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