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.

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Seth’s done it again

With “Linchpin”, Seth Godin has hit the mark as far as conveying a message that resonates with employers, employees, the self-employed, the entrepreneur: work is art in as much as it is a process filled with generosity provided by individuals that create, connect, produce; and ultimately has an effect on others.

Perhaps the book’s punch comes from the fact that the metaphors and actual advice avoid the usual career advice gaff and aims to engage the reader at the emotional level that is required to be an effective worker, as opposed to a ‘steady job holder’.

This post – the first in more than a few months – is direct result of his pep-write: I’ve been too busy to “ship” (deliver, produce, think, give). I had great excuses: I am dedicating a lot of time to other projects including Digital Reach, and I had ruined the original template of this blog (it still is as you can see), so I did not want too many visitors.

I am getting out there again: selling, writing, consulting, pushing the things I stand for; which as you know it’s double-shit scary. Double because you can fail, which makes you feel you want to go hide under a rock and never come out; or you succeed, which means you have to get tense again and deliver so that your client is happy to pay the bill you sent them and then want to come back for some more.

Obviously if you dislike Godin, this will likely not be the book to make you a convert. It’s more of the same, perhaps sharper than ever, less sympathetic and with a desire to shake the ‘factory worker’ mindset and bring out the unruly genius in all of us.

If you get to it, let me know what were your impressions.

Have a great rest of the week

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SWIFT: a model for web content development

Recently, I had the chance to review a recruitment website. I thought it was appropriate to include in that report some recommendations regarding the nature of the content that needs to be created and published to have a good go at getting people to come back to the site, interact, refer, etc.

So I pulled out a little framework that might make a bit more sense that just saying ‘this content is/is not engaging/appealing’; the acronym for it is SWIFT (self, work, influences, fans, transaction) and is built to be used for all types of websites, but I elaborate a bit on it below thinking about recruiment websites, specifically.


Describe your company, your offering, the value that you intend to provide your candidate and customer base. The majority of websites in the HR and recruitment vertical you will come across, dedicate all their time and pages to this area.


Show case studies that demonstrate how your expertise has helped your customers. This helps materialise the claims made in the Self section to your readers.


This is a very important section for artists and freelancers (see the MySpace profile for indie bands, because it offers their readers and followers an insight into their craft, whilst also creating a bond founded on compatibility and identification with one another.

For a company website the influences section can translate to Links page showing who the company follows from a business philosophy or operations perspectives, as well as including recommendations to their readers


This is the testimonials component of your website; this element of content is effectively produced by clients, candidates, suppliers and partners; and it is intended to confirm that the claims made in the Self section are accurate. The unadulterated content from Fans and friends is very powerful when developing online word of mouth. The ‘to-do’ for the publisher/owner is to enable function that enables this interaction.


These are the dynamic content sections that will allow publishers to interact with its web audience. The range of services is vast, but the commonality is that they permit the website visitors make an exchange online. Apply online, call for help, self-assess, register are all transactions need to create relationship depth with the website’s constituents.

That’s it! I guess you can also use this approach to evaluate sites and assess if there are any gaps to address. Let me know if you can build further or see glaring omissions, etc.

Have a great week

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re. LinkedIn Usage in Australia

Usually I write a post and move on.

However this one got a good comment, which you may miss out on if you don’t check previous entries.

By good I don’t mean I concur 100%. I somewhat disagree with the outlook expressed in the last item. By good I mean it highlights a few key messages regarding using networks as a sourcing tool or advertising medium:

– The network environment gives you access to additional candidate info you may not get when advertising in the paper or a job board. It even gives you information about the people that decided not to go for the job; this has to be good intelligence for future postings

– Recruiting becomes more personal and symmetric. You as a hirer have a few more obligations in things like response management, to ensure that your ad increases the strength of your network as opposed to the other way around

– Networks as promising sources of good candidates may/will deteriorate IF the hiring processes do not adapt to a network environment and the behaviors it spouses

Here is the comment again. Thanks Anonymous

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