I left LinkedIn for a year or so.  I was weary.  Invitations to “Join my network on LinkedIn” rolled in … from good people.  In most cases, I asked the sender:  “What are you using it for?” and “Are you using it for business?”  And the response was uniform silence.  Often I repeated the question in person and received no response.

So I stopped responding.  To me, it felt like a bot was running against some address books on people’s PCs, and asking me to service it.

Don’t get me wrong, I inadvertently service bots all the time – we all do.  But I don’t want to put time, energy and attention into servicing bots.  Google’s indexing bots and the internet archive‘s bots are about right, in terms of my tolerance for exchanging anything with bots.

Recently I logged back into LinkedIn, my cynicism lasting only so long (the name of this thing is ‘crusty’ after all).  But this time I got real, energetic responses to the same questions.  That’s the real story.  People now seem to have reasons for investing their time, energy and attention into LinkedIn.  Great answers, in fact.

My favorite was from Steve, who said something like ‘It is my Rolodex. But different from my Rolodex, my LinkedIn people maintain their data for me.’ Those are not the words of the company, but of a user. That’s a strong value proposition, and I love it when a user can readily volunteer a value prop for an app.

I was also blown away by the chatter of many that had their own particular contemporary answers to the questions that produced only silence a year or so ago.  Answers ranged from techniques to gain meetings with potential clients in corporations, to getting the preferred end-around HR route to a new position, to recruiting more efficiently when filling a position, and to corresponding with former colleagues.

My apologies to those whose invitations languished while I was away.  I’m back.  – db