Touchtone in an iPhone World

How well are you LinkedIn?

Simon Meth writes about LinkedIn promiscuity and shares that he has 1044 1st level connections (trusted friends and colleagues) and over 323,000 2nd level connections (friends of friends) on LinkedIn. My first reaction? Holy smoke Simon, I only had 100 people at my wedding and I would have been hard pressed to find 1044 friends to invite. I am not sure I could even name 1044 people that I know.  In his recent post, "The Rise of Social Networks," David Lefkow writes, "after recent announcements by Facebook and the rise of networking platforms like MySpace, LinkedIn, and Ning, social networks are once again gaining momentum. Usage is accelerating, new audiences are being drawn in, and new applications are being developed that can help us all better manage our lives and contacts."

So, I ask myself, what is this all about? What don't I know? What should I know? What does it all mean for me? Throw in Second LifeJobs in Pod, Pingshot, Feedburner, and twitter and suddenly my use of Google Reader (of which I was quite proud) seems a little benign.

Let's just take the most widely talked about social networks. Are you on MySpace? Facebook? LinkedIn?

My sister is on MySpace and to view her profile and keep up with her life, I need to be a friend. To be a friend, I need to be on MySpace. So I am, in a very minimal way. The profile is there, it is bare, but it is enough for me to gain access to my sister.

Frank Roche at Know HR encourages HR professionals to use social bookmarking. He is on Facebook and invites readers to add him as a friend. To be friend, I need to be on Facebook. So, I am, in a very minimal way. The profile is there, it is bare, but it is enough for me to gain access to this thing called Facebook.

My curiosity is piqued both as an individual  and as a parent. My husband and I have a daughter and this is the world she will grow up in. I want to know about it so I am able to gently, or not so gently, guide her through. If you are a mom with a daughter, you have to read, "omg my mom joined facebook!!" You can find it here and also linked within David's post above. 

I blog. With this, I have access to the information, people and resources in one place. More importantly, I have it at the pace that I want it. It is manageable, enjoyable and it fits right in with my life right now. What's missing? Connections with my family out East and with friends across the states. Is MySpace or Facebook an answer? With home phones, work phones, cell phones, home e-mail, work e-mail, blackberry and blog, do I really need another way for people to contact me? Maybe, just maybe, contacting me is different than connecting with me and a social networking site would round it all out.

If I have a personal profile for family and friends would I have another for colleagues? On the same site or another? I am an HR Director in a medium sized mid-western town. I plan to raise the kid right here, I do not have any plans (or desires) to move out of the area, I am not even looking to head 90 miles south to the cities. What benefits would I gain from a site like LinkedIn? Would I be able to use it the way it is designed to be used? 

I sent a message to my sister right after I set up my profile and within minutes, literally minutes, I had a friend request. Cool, I thought, my sister does want to be my friend! It wasn't Karen, it was Caleb. Who is Caleb? Well, Caleb is a young guy, hair blowing in the wind, chewing on a piece of straw . . . .you get the picture. Well, Caleb wants to be my friend. Request denied. Please! I really don't want to deal with this. I was pleased, however, to see how well protected my very bare profile is and how easy it was to deny a request for access.

People are living, thriving and connecting in this world each and every day. Calebs of the world aside, it is time for me to jump in.