LINKEDIN: Results of my one month test on “liveliness” — 37%! I’m disappointed

On November 1st, I hit upon the idea of “Liveliness” testing of my LinkedIn “network”.

(We can chat why my “LinkedIn network” is NOT my “network”. And, if what one does with LinkedIn is “networking”. It’s not Lucht’s version of face to face networking. But, it is doing “something”. Just don’t know if it should be called “networking” except in the loosest sense of the word.)

This test was aimed at all contacts older than one month. And, folk who LinkedIn with me — based on old invites — one was a year old — during the test are excluded from the results.

My LinkedIn network is a disappointing 37%!

My original focus was on “breakage”. That was 6%! I had, from LinkedIn, a bad email address, then that clearly that was not going to work very well!

While I was doing it, I became concerned that perhaps I was too heavy on:

* >1% SuperConnectors (little value in the traditional networking sense) ;

* 11% my Current Employer (little value if you get nuked); and

* 2% Hunters (little value in accessing the hidden job market).

During the test, I had the concept of “reaching around” the breaks. That’s how I describe sending an InMail directly to a contact of the “broken contact”. I was able to “repair” seven breaks.

Also, during the test, I was able to give some help: identifying in one case a inadvertent DUPLICATE; in several cases “unpersonalized” urls; a slew of typos; and some “broken” profiles (i.e., profiles with an obsolete email). So, it wasn’t just me bothering people; patheticly begging for a response.

Since my first formal try only got one third to respond, I’ll have to figure out a better approach. Clearly, if this is to be useful, it’s going to need MORE care and feeding.

Sigh. Always more to do!

I feel sorry for anyone, blithely sailing along, thinking that they are “networking” with LinkedIn, and then need that “network” for something, and get these type of results.

Note, that I am NOT an open networker, but have only added contacts that had a perceived value. Maybe, this is a very telling about the value of LinkedIn. AND, social networking in general.

Maybe Lucht is more right than I used to think?

Anyone else studying this?

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8 thoughts on “LINKEDIN: Results of my one month test on “liveliness” — 37%! I’m disappointed

  1. Linkedin’s inability to categorize my contacts or minimally leave notes to myself, at least the last time I checked, makes it a site I visit once or twice every couple of months. All too frequently I find myself asking “who the hell is that? and why am I linked to them?” I don’t think I should have to check over personal notes on my home pc to make a networking site useful. Unfortunately, aside from some minor discovery conveniences, that seems to be the case with linkedin. Granted, I could be doing it all wrong.

    As per your original linked in msg, I am curious what would you hope to get from applying sigma to linkedin?

  2. >Not sure what you mean by My LinkedIn network is a disappointing 37%! 37% of what?

    37% of my LinkedIn first level connections responded to a simple networking message.

    >Also, what’s a superconnector or hunter?

    SuperConnector is one of those folks who tries to connect with everyone. An “open connector” or someone who has may thousands of connectors. Usually in excess of 5 or 10k.

    Hunter is a recruiter of some type — contingency, retained, or executive search.

    >LinkedIn is a tool that can be very useful

    Maybe, but they (the LinkedIn “leadership”, the press, the blogosphere, users) have many different illusions about what it is. Somewhere between phone book and “networking”. I’ve been “using it” for awhile, and I’m not sure “what it is”, “what it’s supposed to be”, or if it’s worth the effort at all.


    Thanks again for your thoughts,
    (I’ll allow them to post as soon as this email doesn’t bounce. There are so many bad guys out there.)

  3. John,

    I dont think LinkedIN is a social networking site as much as it is a Professional networking site. In my experience I can get better and faster responses from linking on an real social networking site (such as Facebook). I see LinkedIn as a resource where I can pinc someone about a new professional opportunity (although I have not tried that route yet) as opposed to just keeping in touch with friends.

    When I hit up contacts on the social networking site, I get over a 90% response…LinkedIN contacts may get back to me in a month or so (one actually took about a year to answer my link request!).

    Nice work, though, and good information.

  4. I continue to hold out hope for a site such as LINKEDIN to provide some value in networking. I am not yet willing to shell out $$$ for the full set of features.

    I have not formally “tested” the effectiveness of my network – but some observations:

    – I do find that a large part of my current network is made up of fellow employees. By default that limits my ability to do career development, look for a new job, etc. In fact it makes it a risk.

    – I have tried to use my network to recruit resources for open consulting assignments (I am responsible for solution design at a very small consulting company). Pinging all of my contacts has resulted in finding a candidate once.

    – I use LINKEDIN in conjunction with PLAXO in order to try and keep my address book current for job changers.

    My informal observation is that most of my contacts have joined once (either at my invitation or anothers) but do not maintain or regularly use the site. They do not maintain their information and as a result it gets stale.

    Hence informally validating all of the findings above. LINKEDIN and other Professional Networking Sites need to find some new KILLER functionality to encourage members to continue to return to the site.

    Another observation – PLAXO has recently introduced PULSE which seems to be a running feed of things that people in my network change / add. It is interesting to look at … but far to few people have signed up.

  5. John,

    Not sure what you mean by My LinkedIn network is a disappointing 37%! 37% of what?

    Also, what’s a superconnector or hunter?

    LinkedIn is a tool that can be very useful for identifying potential people with whom you may be able to enter into a “networking relationship”, i.e. one that is based upon a mutual exchange of value and reciprocity. It’s a tool much like any other technology. The value generated comes from the humans using the tool.


  6. Well, I’m not studying it as well as you, THAT’S FOR SURE. :)

    I have been trying a few things, as well. Different features, such as Q&A, to see if those gather more “network response”, seem to offer an opportunity to gain positive response from ones own network. I found my attempt … a bummer.

    I sense, while I am a bit more of an “open networker” than you, I’m getting as good if not less results …

    Drugs — it’s all due to drugs … drugs are taking over the country, ya know … :)

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