LinkedIn & Global Connections
LinkedIn is one of the more highly rated social networks for professionals who want to connect with other professionals in their region, throughout their country or around the world.
As a result of starting two businesses, becoming involved in numerous innovation, technology and entrepreneurial events and projects, and reading "The World Is Flat" and "Never Eat Alone", connecting extensively with interesting people both locally and globally has become a personal goal. Connecting with those people can best be done with a combination of offline and online tools and activities.
LinkedIn is one of the available online tools. One way LinkedIn connects people is through the feature allowing members to send to other members an invitation to connect with them. Yesterday I responded to three such invitations. One invitation was from a Wisconsin person. Two invitations were from people in Europe. The Wisconsin contact will probably result in more frequent re-connection due simply to the likelihood of in-person meetings and having more things in common with each other.
However, the international connections are equally or more intriguing because of possibilities for learning more about other cultures and the global economy and because of chances for serendipitous collaboration. The 'flat world' concept of developing person-to-person contacts around the globe based on personal knowledge and passsions rather than only on government or company affiliations is a concept with which I fully agree. My global network, while larger than it was five years ago, is nowhere near as extensive and effective as I am working for it to be five years from now and almost non-existent compared to the networks of other people I know.
Connecting other people who have a lot in common and may collaborate on worthwhile future projects is a lot of fun. In the past three years I've met several hundred new people. During the same period I've personally connected thirty to forty people with new contacts. I'm continually striving to improve the ability to stay connected with people I meet and interact with them in ways they will find beneficial and enjoyable. It takes time, and I'm a rookie at doing this, but if you give it a go you'll find it's unquestionably worth your time.
LinkedIn is one networking tool to use for connecting and interacting. It's a tool I am working to use with increasing effectiveness.
What tools, online or offline, do you use to grow, maintain and mutually leverage your networks?
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