Written By: Andrew Mann

In this assignment, I’ve increased my appreciation of using LinkedIn for business networking. I’ve had an account for a few years but have never taken the time to really nurture and grow my contacts. In this assignment I dove in and went through all my work email contacts and invited most to connect with me through LinkedIn. I was amazed at how many had accounts and accepted my invitation. I expected those in sales would have an account but I was not as sure about some of the teachers or administrators I invited. I was surprised that some administrators had never heard of LinkedIn and they wanted to understand why they should create an account and start using it for professional networking. I would often say simply, “it’s like Facebook for business relationships,” and they’d understand.

I had a regional sales rep. for an online curriculum and e-learning company, www.odysseyware.com reply to my LinkedIn invite, saying he didn’t want to have another site he had to check and manage. I looked and there is not a company page or group in LinkedIn or Facebook.  Odysseyware markets product which is for secondary students and is entirely web based. It seems like the company should be utilizing the power of marketing and connecting using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking tools.  In my reply I mentioned the power of social networking – to make connections and market. I’d guess it’s just a matter of time and he and his company will be onboard.
In my position as an educational technology integrator/trainer, educators will often ask for my recommendations. They want to know is this just a “fad” or a valuable useful tool worthy of their investment of time? I’m becoming a champion of LinkedIn for a few reasons. 
  • Recommendations - having recommendations online makes it so easy for prospective customers or employers to learn more about you. 
  • Professional Networking – making connections is the way to get things done. LinkedIn helps.
  •  In addition to my job as an instructional technology consultant for the Calhoun Intermediate School District, I do some private consulting. LinkedIn will help market my services.
Accounts:
I’ve been a big Delicious user and have trained many users on how Delicious can  amann, items tagged make them more productive. 
In this assignment I have added more than a dozen sites to my Delicious account tagged with Linkedin and other tags; http://delicious.com/amann/linkedin .  When I tag a site I include a short description explaining why the site is noteworthy. Did you know if you highlight some text on the website before you add the site to Delicious, that text automatically fills the description? 
I have created a simple website for Delicious training which includes links to resources, tutorials and a few screencasts
Last: it is always a decision on what to include and what not to include in a course. What topics do you go into deeply and which you go into less deeply but cover a larger number of topics.  For example in this assignment the popular alternative social bookmarking program, Diigo was not included, nor was the largest competitor to LinkedIn, Plaxo mentioned.  I liked that our assignment went deeply into Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  I would have found it more helpful to Digg or Stumble Upon one or two of the most used and valuable tools in this category and cover them more deeply, rather than survey a variety of similar tools. 
Here is one example of a screencast created with the free screencast application: Jing