Rediscover LinkedIn & Speed Up Your Happy Accidents

Everyone’s heard of LinkedIn, right? There are more than 70 million of you out there with a LinkedIn profile. But do you ever do anything with that profile or avail yourself of the benefits that profile entails? With all the social networks and the demands on one’s Web time, LinkedIn is often forgotten among the fury of Twitter and the friend-connections and fun on Facebook. But it’s an untapped resource that should command a bit more of your attention if you have professional or business development aspirations to your Web-activity.

Check out this video – it will only take a couple minutes of your time, but presents a decent case for why you should consider spending more time on the number one professional network:

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Sobees: Your Custom Twitter Client

I know what your thinking: not another Twitter interface! If you are into Twitter, you probably have a favorite or a combination of favorites for desktop and mobile that include Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Tweetie or even web and now mobile Brizzly (a personal fav).  So why should you consider another option?

Because you never know when one will combine all of the features you really want to have in one package. Sobees (link here), a Windows-based client, is a relatively unfamiliar option, with strengths in the area of customization.

First of all, Sobees works in XP, Vista and 7, covering a wide span of Windows-based machines. It also incorporates Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace along with Twitter. Next – Sobees gives the user a great deal of latitude in setting up their little “window on the world” with 16 different layouts and a drag and drop your social network interface. You also can choose whether to view your groups in columns or tabs – a nice feature.  There is support for lists and the ability to update all social networks with one, unified status entry – timesaver! Filtering and tweak options are plentiful and easy to set.

Image Taken from MakeUseOf

Sobees seems a pretty complete package. Whether you choose the desktop client or web interface (link here), I can’t imagine you could go wrong with the broad feature set.

Hat tip to MakeUseOf.

UPDATE: I should add here that, if customize-ability is of high important to you, you may want to check out a future version of Seesmic built on a plug-in architecture powered by Microsoft Silverlight. This means that you will be able to choose from third party developer applications to “plug into” your Seesmic Twitter interface and gain all sorts of added functionality. Consider a bookmarking plug-in for links or a mapping app for geolocation built right into Seesmic. Very, very cool. No foreseeable release date yet, but keep checking the wires (and the Studio).  Hat tip to The Next Web.

Advanced Social Media Presentation Materials

Doug Cornelius (Compliance Building) and I had a most excellent time presenting our lunch seminar on Beyond LinkedIn: Advanced Social Media for Lawyers yesterday at the Boston Bar Association. If you were unable to attend, you can still check out our presentation materials. Here are our presentation slides:

You also can view our handout collecting web tools and resources (link here).

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Boston Bar Association – Advanced Social Media

Looking forward to my presentation along with Doug Cornelius of compliancebuilding.com on Tuesday at the Boston Bar Association’s Computer Law monthly luncheon. Our talk is on “advanced” social media tips and tricks, and is appropriately dubbed “Beyond LinkedIn.” Doug and I are going to focus on how to deal with the objections often raised by individuals and firms to jumping into the on-line networking fray, from managing the expense of time to avoiding the pitfalls of on-line publication.

Doug and I prepared a great Power Point presentation, which we will both be publishing on our respective blogs after the talk. So, even if you can’t make the talk, you can get the goods!

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Is LinkedIn Getting All Social-y?

linkedinIf you hang out on LinkedIn, you may have noticed the dusty status box on your profile page. If you hang out on-line, you know what a status box is for. My sense of the LinkedIn status box is that it has been a cute little novelty on the site: some take advantage of it from time to time but most seem to ignore its existence. Sort of like ignoring the unpacked boxes from your move two years ago.

That may all change overnight. LinkedIn has announced integration of its cute little status boxes with Twitter’s power status updating service. Over the next 24 hours, LinkedIn will roll out to users the ability to automatically update Twitter with LinkedIn status updates and vice versa, with the use of a hashtag, much like the #fb tag. The LinkedIn tag is #in or li.

A nice feature is that you will be able to set up the cross-posting to send all or selected tweets. Not sure my business contacts want to hear what I had for breakfast yesterday. LinkedIn is also permitting users to show their tweet stream on their LinkedIn profile as well.

Facebook integration also may be in LinkedIn’s future, as well as URL shortening of LinkedIn updates to fit within the infamous 140 character Twitter limit (that makes sense).

I think this is the right move for LinkedIn. My historical complaint regarding the site is that it is, well, boring. There is plenty of business in the questions and group commentary, but the flow in those areas is slow, too slow for today’s real time world. Furthermore, there is little opportunity on LinkedIn to develop your “personality”. The modern Web in general and social networking in particular demand that the experience be fun, ever-changing and informative. Twitter integration goes far towards improving LinkedIn’s deficiencies in this regard.

Will you integrate your Twitter stream with your LinkedIn updates? Enquiring minds want to know!

Tracking Business & Financial Information, The Modern Way

TrackedExciting news for business voyeurs: a new startup has just launched a service with access to a sizeable structured database of all things (public) financial. It is called Tracked and allows you to search for all sorts of business-related information on people and companies.  Data includes company financial statements, compensation data, insider trading by executives, overiews and news items for people and businesses, etc. You can set up lists to watch for information about particular people, companies or industries. In other words, your own, customized Wall Street Journal.

Profiles are organized, much like LinkedIn, but the depth of financial information is far greater. Techcrunch likens the new service to a cross between LinkedIn and Yahoo Finance. If only it could include the real-time aspects of Skygrid, Tracked could easily become “must see TV” for the financially-interested.

Hat tip to Techcrunch.

Casting Your Net In Fertile Waters


Image by Ivan Walsh via Flickr

Still on the fence about whether or not to jump into the social media scene for business networking purposes? Nielson Claritas has just released an analysis of consumer behavior offering the conclusion that those using social networks like Facebook, Myspace or LinkedIn are more affluent and more urban than average. The numbers of site visitors are growing by the quarter. Depth of engagement also is increasing. The online panel from which Nielson culled its results numbers more than 200,000. Facebook and Linkedin pulled in the highest scale user. Check out the blurb at Nielsonwire.

I am not going to judge the veracity of these results as I do not nearly enough information about the testing and demographics of the study. Nonetheless, even if the numbers represent an approximation, I humbly suggest that your on-line audiences in these venues may well be interested in focused engagement regarding quality services.

Hat tip to Resource Shelf

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Bringing The Business Card Into the Modern Age

Beautiful Legal Card Designs from Business Card Designs

Beautiful Legal Card Designs from Business Card Designs

The business card. It has served such a multitude of functions over time. It is both an announcement and a reminder of your presence in a profession. The design of the card “clothes” you with a certain style. From the staid Times New Roman font on slightly textured creme stock to wild and funky holographic designs, the card says as much about you as your attire.

Now you can show the world your tech-savvy nature using virtual cards. Like everything else, technology has touched the modern business card and there are all sorts of new ways to announce yourself and remind your audience about your sphere of influence. There are different tools depending upon your own preferred methods of communication.

Of course, most people are familiar with the vCard, a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards are most frequently attached to e-mail messages, but can be exchanged in other ways. Short for Versitcard, vCards were  first developed as long ago as 1995. vCards offer the means for incorporating the sender’s information into your electronic contacts list and are still widely used today.

But why stop at the primitive vCard? There are scores of new ways to capture this information. The iPhone offers many free apps for keeping and transmitting business card information, including SnapDat, beamMe, FreeContact, myCard Free, BeezCard Lite, Handshake, Fliq, and Dub. Check out this article by Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable describing and comparing the various apps and offering screenshots. There are paid apps with increased functionality as well. Newcomer iBCard will allow you to transfer a very real looking business card via the iPhone’s bluetooth connection or email.

Contxts affords the ability to share business card information via SMS text messages. Cool! TxtID provides a similar service.

DubMeNow has a virtual business card app for iPhone and Blackberry with added support for LinkedIn.

Or you can create and maintain an on-line business card and virtual Rolodex with web applications such as SpartX. With Retaggr, you can create an embeddable card with links to all of your on-line outposts.

You can expand your web information presence with such personal streaming sites as OnePage, Google Profiles or Chi.mp. These options really serve as outposts for aggregating your on-line presence and do not really offer true business card functionality, such as the ability to store the virtual cards of others. However, if you are most interested in maintaining a single spot for all of your on-line activity where you can direct interested contacts, these sites are the way to go.

You can even Tweet your business card using twtBizCardto send, you just need to add #twtbizcard to a @reply!

Do you like to email your card, a la vCard, but want for something a bit more up to date? Try DropCard or WeaveMet – combining the power and ease of both email and SMS for a monthly fee.

Since business cards are as ubiquitous as cell phones, why not combine the two to create an instant virtual card network? MyNameIsE does just that. Taken from their site:

E enables you to collect your accounts – on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other network of your choice – in one spot, and share them in real life by using any mobile phone or Connector.

You decide which profiles you share: E allows you to make an online ‘business card’ for every occasion. This way, you’ll be able to share business info with business contacts, and private info with private contacts.

When you exchange your card via this service, you will automatically connect with your contact via all the chosen social networking sites as well. You can create different cards for different contexts, and set the desired connections accordingly. Use the phones’ internet connections or a proprietary device called, obviously enough, the Connector, to exchange information. Changes to contact information get pushed straight to your existing contacts automatically. This service looks absolutely fascinating to me and clearly seeks to push the business card into the future!

Bottom line? If you want to look modern and all techno-geeky like, consider some of these great electronic options to connect your card to the world!

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Webinars: Not Designed To Instruct On Web-Spinning

Image representing GoToMeeting as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Webinars provide professionals with yet another means of communicating their expertise and offering information – the life-blood of the on-line world –  to an internet audience. LLRX has a good overview of the webinar experience penned by Wells Anderson called Marketing Yourself with Webinars. For those unfamiliar, a webinar is a hybrid concoction: one part teleconference and one part on-screen slide presentations via Powerpoint or another slidesharing service. Attendees sign up, access through a webinar conference number and can simultaneously hear the conference via phone and view the slides via the computer.

There are many good reasons for using webinars to promote your brand and business and Mr. Anderson highlights them well in the article. For me, a webinar reminds your webinar audience, as well as those who view promotion of the webinar, of your professional web presence, setting you in the role of educator and expert and offering proof of your web-savvy nature.

Anderson advises using subscription service GoToMeeting from Citrix Online for webinar hosting, promising a straight-forward and easy-to-use experience. I found their product GoToWebinar.  Creating your webinar should be no different than the process of creating a live seminar presentation.

But the key to a successful webinar is proper promotion. Use existing contacts, your blog and services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other venues offering a broader audience for your presentation promotion.

If you are committed to marketing your practice using modern on-line methods, webinars are a great addition to your Web 2.0 strategy and branding. Use them at regular intervals to sharpen your own presentation technique and remind the Web why you are the go-to guy or gal in your particular field.

Check out a video review of GoToWebinar above for more information about webinars in general and this product in particular.

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The “Social” Gets More Social

Oh me oh my. So much to write about today and not enough time or space. So, for now, I am going to limit my rantings to updating my earlier blog about LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook and the social networking phenomenon.

Google has just announced plans to implement a service called “Friend Connect” to permit people to employ applications from their usual social networking haunts, like Facebook or Plaxo, while visiting other sites and, ultimately, across the Web. This announcement is hot on the heels of similar announcements by Facebook and MySpace pledging to permit members to utilize their personal profiles and applications on other websites. Google’s Director of Engineering David Glazer indicates that “[a]t the heart of Google’s service is the use of Open Social which will allow third parties to build and develop applications for the site.” Thus, by using Friend Connect, any website owner should be able to add code to his or her site to get a social interface feature without complicated programming. The former “walled garden” approach of the social networking sites, which encouraged interaction only between members of the individual sites, is crumbling and making way for a new social order permitting “socializing” across websites and the entire Internet. As David Glazer adds: “[s]ocial networking is going mainstream. It used to be proprietary, but now it’s going to be open and baked into the infrastructure of the net, not just one site or one source,…”

Damn straight its getting mainstream. Just check out who is maintaining a presence on the big three. Even hackers, the “ethical” ones anyway, have their very own social network, called, what else, House of Hackers.  For an up and coming social networking site that combines wiki’s with passionate discourse under “niche” communities, check out Wetpaint. And here is a top ten list of social networking sites for women. Ladies only, please!

But all is not an electronic bed of roses for the users of social networking sites. For a cautionary message with a legal bent aimed at social networking site users, check out this video at Findlaw.com. In the same vein as those oft-repeated warnings to business users to avoid including anything on these sites that one may not want a prospective employer or client to view, the applicable laws mandate that site users employ the same precautions against defamatory and/or infringing material generally applicable to traditional media in connection with on-line postings. These common sense limitations aside, however, the clear direction of the Internet and the Web 2.0 revolution is the organizing, simplifying and socializing of the vast information repository that has grown in the cyberspace soil. Wallflowers, beware. The future is NOW!

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