Earlier this week I posted some comments concerning my disappointment with LinkedIn. It was not a major disappointment, I use the network, and I continue to invite friends and business associates to join, but I thought that based upon LinkedIn's set-up that encouraged exploration 4 degrees of separation out, my experience was that it wasn't delivering on that particular promise.
After making my thoughts known, I heard first from friend and associate Jack Vinson, who provided a little bit of a reality check informing me that, "the best LinkedIn connections are the 2nd degree connections through people who can verify your existance as a good human being - and people who are actively using the service." Makes sense. I'd have to agree. If I'm sketchy on a new contact, I will probably NOT introduce them to one of my most trusted friends.
I was then pleasantly surprised to hear from Konstantin Guericke, the VP of Marketing, and a co-founder of LinkedIn, who offered these thoughts, "LinkedIn definitely has not been an instant gratification network. Definitely, finding someone who your contacts know directly is key. The third degree works pretty well in terms of trust and speed, but the fourth degree is not that different from the sixth or eigth or tenth." I'm tracking with that, it makes sense. Thanks to Konstantin for taking the time for a personal comment.
After giving it some thought, I realized my expectations were a bit unrealistic, so I prepared tonight to not retract my comments, but to modify them. Hey, check out my earlier posts...I am a LinkedIn fan...it has helped me to think more about my connections and to use my network, and in exchange, to help people in my network.
OK, so it was time to post, but only after a quick visit to LinkedIn to check in on the network. Site down. They're working on it. No biggy, updates happen.
Well before starting this post, one last visit to LinkedIn found the site changed and a letter from LinkedIn's CEO, Reid Hoffman, stating, "overwhelmingly, users have told us that four-degree referrals take too long and require too many people to get the real benefit of a referred introduction. We agree. Introductions, our new name for Contact Requests, will now extend only three degrees."
Bravo for responding to customer need and focusing on building the network slowly.
The letter also promoted LinkedIn's 3.3 million users, and obviously growing. I think the important thing for LinkedIn will be constant review and update of service and promises, which LinkedIn seems to be applying. At 2 years old, it's still very new, it's exciting, and I think that it is a learning experience for everyone.
An additional service, to allow members to traverse further than 3 degrees of separation, is InMail, which will allow users to send email annonymously and the 4th, 5th, etc degree recipient can decide if they want to receive InMail, and if they want to pursue the connection. Seems like a good idea.
I sit corrected. Apparently, so does LinkedIn.