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Expanding Your Ability to Find Answers through LinkedIn

Written by: Bill Sherman on Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 8:37 PM

Tony Karrer makes a very interesting post about finding expert answers within the extended social network of LinkedIn. If you use LinkedIn, it’s a worthwhile read, and it may change how you use LinkedIn.

As my father (a reference librarian) used to say, “You don’t need to know the answer yourself. You just need to know how to find the answer you need.”

Tony essentially models LinkedIn as a cocktail mixer of people he’s met, reserving his recommendations to people he trusts. This model allows him allows him to expand his reach to locate resources within his network who can answer his question. However, number of “connections” does not confer expertise on any single person.

From a social capital perspective, he’s expanded his potential access to information–without immediately creating deeper social capital. He still must find reasons for casual acquaintances and 2nd level contacts to help him locate the answer he needs.

His approach aligns closely what I’ve described many times here. LinkedIn itself is just a network.

If you use any social network passively, you’ll see few benefits, but if you actively invest time into it, you will see a significant return.

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