Second Degree Land

InMapsWith Google, I found like I never had before
With Blogger, I published like I never had before;
With LinkedIn, I networked like I had never before;
With Twitter I discovered like I never had before;
With Facebook I played like I never had before;
I am not sure what I am doing on G+ yet…

I posted more or less the same lines to G+ a few weeks back; fact is I am not using it regularly and there is no immediate or apparent reason to go to it in a hurry.

But this is not about Plus; it’s about me reaching 1000 connections on LinkedIn which, as you well know, has no intrinsic value. It is also about a couple of articles on the rise of LinkedIn and its impact on human/real connections:

– Rick Bookstaber’s “Ultimately LinkedIn Will Make Your ‘Weak Links’ Less Valuable”
“The continuing devaluation of LinkedIn connections” by Ross Dawson

These pieces are not comparable straight away in as much as they are not addressing the same issue. Bookstaber’s post centers around network theory and how weak links need to remain ‘weak’ in order for societies to flourish and develop (whilst LinkedIn might be doing totally the opposite).

Ross’ article is about the bastardisation of the LinkedIn connection as more “strangers” approach you to link-in simply because -as per the system’s features- this is the only way to get in contact with a member. As a contrast, he references Facebook, where strangers can message you and you can “sus-out” people without a prior connection commitment.

The point of convergence for the articles was reaching the 1K connections mark, which prompted me to reflect on what happened to my way of doing business since joining LinkedIn. Some insights and personal experiences follow:

– I think I have done well in not connecting with every man and his dog just for the sake of increasing reach. Weak first degree connections that have no opportunity to strengthen are very much like those conference attendees whose business cards we hoard but whose face or pitch you cannot recall. You cannot help them and they cannot help you.

– Strong first degree connections off the system as well as those nourished in it after the initial contact have been extremely positive for repeat business. LinkedIn has proven to be an effective CRM; then again I don’t have thousands of clients or lots of staff that demand highly coordinated relationship processes.

– Almost every new customer I signed up is (or was at the time) a second degree connection linked to a strong first degree connection. At the same time, there is a huge chunk of second degree connections which are, to-date, strangers; however, more often than not, I have enough information to work out what their business needs and priorities might be. So, you know where my marketing efforts go.

– Third degree connections is uncharted territory; every now and then, I see little archipelagos (members who I know or can connect off the system) but they are rare. LinkedIn Signal might change that, but I am not a heavy user yet.

– Throughout the five 1/2 years of going with the biz, my marketing expenditure has been negligible. You might say I could be more/really successful if I had spent money. I think that if I had decided to have marketed more, I would have done more of the same (e.g. blogging more, increased participation on Groups, more presentations, videos, etc.) which is a resource with a cost but still imply no material disbursements of dollars.

– My cold calls on LinkedIn – inMails, connection requests via Groups – have had about a 30% success rate at the most. Success here is understood as having the chance at strengthening a relationship, so that 30% is looking not too hot, is it. I don’t believe the conduit was the culprit; rather, it was my inability to sell the connection request well enough.

About 10 years ago, a recruitment ‘big-wig’ told me something along the lines of “Jorge, you will never be able to accumulate the amount of business cards I have on my Rolodex”.

I am not exactly sure how he did business, but one thing LinkedIn has enabled me to do is to check thousands of ever-changing Rolodexes of people that I am not even directly related to. My future clients, employers, colleagues, employees are – more likely than not – living right now in second degree land.

Come on, be social :)

What if your soul mate wants to come to your apartment?

It’s encouraging to be approached by an increasing number of recruitment firms and corporate recruitment teams asking for guidance on how to improve/ramp-up their presence on professional and online social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

With the risk of stopping them in their tracks, I normally include in this conversation a question or two about their own websites; I enquire if they measure their traffic, if they know how their sites renders on a smartphone and how regularly they update content, jobs, etc.

Sometimes I can feel in the voice of these potential customers a level of disappointment, so as to say “no, no; don’t get off topic, I don’t want to talk about my site; focus on the question about networks”

Like I said, it’s encouraging. It reflects that recruiters are aware that they need to go where job seekers and clients live, research, find.

Maybe it was the lack of caffeine today, but all I could come up with trying to explain why I ask those seemingly off-putting questions about their own website, was the following social dating scenario:

Imagine an online network is a funky, fashionable bar: nice music, lots of great-looking people mingling, checking each other out.

You are there too with shiny new clothes and accessories (company page, personal profile), already with a few acquaintances know you from previous meet-ups (connections), checking people out and being checked out.

Suddenly across the room, you see someone that really grabs your attention with their presence and persona (awesome profile – 100% complete, premium membership, open networker, looking for a career change). Fantastic!

At that moment, you come onto this person’s focus too; you’re the right complement: great connections, work for an awesome agency, and you’re hiring for this great company.

It’s a match. It’s late however: the bar will close eventually, but you and your soul mate don’t want to leave, both of you want to know more of each other. You want to talk all night.

So you pop the question: “Do you want to come to my apartment?”

At that moment (hopefully before you mutter the words) you may have thought: In which condition will this person find my abode? When did I last vacuum? Is there more than stale milk in the fridge?

You know where I am going.

If you effectively engage potential candidates or customers on a professional/social network, and they are keen enough to accept your invitation to your apartment (your company website); What they find there? Will this more intimate environment help you grow closer to this person, or will he/she be putt-off because your place is not as shiny as you appeared on the bar?

I say it again, more than happy to assist people to dress up and look fab in preparation to go to this huge online bar; just let me ask you in which condition you left your apartment.

Happy Oz Day everyone!!

Come on, be social :)

Myspace trimming and sale


It seemed that the recently reworked Myspace logo was fairly prescient of what was coming for the company in early 2011. The new owners will only have to plug in their own logo in the blank.

If I remember well, News bought it for about 600 milllion 6 years ago, whilst at the same time striking the advertising deal with Google which would effectively fund the acquisition. It would appear that either that has been achieved and then there’s residual value to be ‘bagsed’, or the math is not looking like it will add any time soon.

I am not confident the user base will be patient enough for a Myspace redux, unless it blows their socks off with a new (and I mean a NEW) proposition.

[logo linked from networkeffect]

Come on, be social :)

The Merovingian said: for every action there is a reaction

Recruitment agencies are receiving less assignments from their clients

Recruiters – like all or most of us – need to stay busy or else. They start chasing ads

If they chase ads, they might as well have a candidates that can fill the role

In lieu of/addition to looking at their own databases, recruiters chasing ads opt to create their own sourcing/trawling posts

The incremental cost of posting the trawling job ads is negligible; recruiters may have already paid for them as part of their monthly contracts

Applications per ad are already up given our context

Candidates won’t get much attention, because the recruiter’s interest in them is contingent on the ad-chasing success ratio (which I would say is low)

Hiring companies are getting peeved with cold-calling consultants, which leads them to (if possible) write more and more generic ads so that they are not identified by ad-chasers

What’s in the horizon?

As contracts with job boards get renewed maybe there will be less ads (both good and bad, but proportionally less bad ones)

Reduced confidence on recruiters will lead job seekers to going back to job seeking via people you can trust, which can also include hand-picked recruiters, but also colleagues, friends, family.

Referrals based on trawling ads will not produce results.

Niche sites that have the inclination and capacity to monitor the quality of job ads could also get the thumbs up. Issue here is: what’s quality? An ad for a work-from-home scheme? The fifth version of the same ad? A suspicious looking/fake one? The more judgment you apply the more labor-intensive / costly the exercise.

Hiring organisations have an opportunity to work on their employer brand during this time, A ‘grey’ recruitment practice does not necessarily imply low candidate quality.

Thank you @jobadder for your comments re. niche sites

Hope your week finishes very well

Come on, be social :)

Multiple choice

Throughout my time as a LinkedIn user, I have received a large number of invitations to connect. Every one of these invitations can be grouped in three categories that are represented with the following real and recent examples:

Example 1:


I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.


Example 2:


I am reaching out to you as a fellow member of (another online network).

I would love to connect with you to share networks.

I do understand that you might choose not to accept my invitation. If that is the case please ARCHIVE the invitation instead of saying you don’t know me.

I appreciate your time.

– Joe

Example 3


I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. We are connected through a number of different people and the X Talent Conference group and I was impressed when I saw your profile. I am seeking to create a powerful network of fellow professionals from around the world that I can learn from, share with and develop best practice to use every day. I thank you for your consideration.


What matters most to you?. Is it:

– How interested/beneficial it is for you to connect to Joe?
– The style of the invitation and how much ‘effort’ the inviter has made in producing a customised invitation?
– The fact that you don’t know Joe

Come on, be social :)

give them a home before someone else does

myhome is closing, as you know… 30-odd people seem destined to lose their jobs before the end of the financial year

By looking at my LinkedIn account, there are 12 people on the system (that I can see within my network anyway), most of which are IT professionals (architect, developer, product manager). I assume the technical team have worked with bleeding edge tools. I doubt they will be long term unemployed.

Go have a peek, and if you recruit any of them leave me a comment

Have a good Tuesday.

Come on, be social :)

LinkedIn rumours

Had you asked me at the beginning of the year: will you be in Vizag for business in 2007? I would have honestly said no.. but here I am. This is all part of the plot to justify why I have not been writing – or reading – blogs in the last couple of months or so. More details soon.

Anyhoo, I was reading today about how LinkedIn is not going to be bought by News… Just in case they change their minds and/or Nye stops playing cat and mouse, I reckon this is a fab purchase because it enables News to

a) move up the value chain re. employment [from classifieds (immediate placements) to relationships with professionals (workforce planning)]

b) nurture an interesting audience for its other advertising and content

So there

Have a great weekend

Come on, be social :)