In fact, Paskowski seems down right cynical about social networking in general. She says it isolates people instead of building actual relationships for them:
I've seen this phenomenon going on for a long time, mostly with kids text-messaging each other or hanging out online on Facebook or MySpace instead of being able to utter a coherent sentence at a social occasion. Is this what our species has become?
As a teacher, I feel the opposite way. Most of my kids get plenty of verbal exercise. Email, blogging, microblogs (like Twitter), and social media like MySpace and Facebook are exercises in literacy for kids from middle school to the early twenties. Putting letters together to form words and articulating their ideas in some written form can be far more challenging than just talking. And it's a skill they need…
Of course, that's not really relevant to our discussion. If you're in retail sales, LinkedIn probably isn't going to make you a lot of money. If you're a consultant or a freelancer of some kind looking for one week gigs in personnel development or some kind of corporate problem solving, your experience may be entirely different. LinkedIn may prove more useful.
Of course, who am I to say? I have eight contacts after largely neglecting LinkedIn for the three months I've been on it. Of course, I've neglected it because, well, I don't need it. At the moment I have more work than I can do. And so does Paskowski (I suspect). So who is she to say?
What does LinkedIn (or Facebook and MySpace, for that matter) do for you? Paskowski is right about the entertainment value of social media. I'm on MySpace because other people connected to my day job are on MySpace – teachers, parents, etc. I spend three to seven minutes a day on MySpace to look at what mood people are in and see what information I can glean there. Facebook is more time consuming for me. I've reconnected there with a few people from past lives – high school, or my time overseas, or pervious jobs. Plus some of the games are nice.
LinkedIn is slightly more formal. I think of it as a place where I can put up an online résumé, but I'm not looking for much more than that out of it. And you probably shouldn't be, either.
Will anyone read your résumé on LinkedIn? Maybe. Maybe not…