Collecting People

Using LinkedIn (Thing 17 in the Cambridge 23 Things programme) has always reminded me of my Panini sticker collecting frenzy of the late 70s/early 80s. The ones that stick most in my mind were for Football 1978 (mainly because ‘SuperMac’ (Malcolm Macdonald) was my God folowing a visit to my primary school – once I had his sticker I lost interest), Flash Gordon and Return of the Jedi. Now if you ever collected stickers you know that you always had heaps of swaps of certain stickers, but others were very hard to find. Myself and my group of schoolfriends bitterly bemoaned the fact that the bottom half of the two-part Princess Leia (in gold bikini outfit) sticker seemed to be in particularly short supply – we had her head but nothing else. It was almost as if Panini were deliberately taunting us! As if to prove my point, when searching for images of said sticker album I had to laugh when I saw the very same Leia sticker on the top of the lefthand pile. I’m willing to bet that, like us, they never got the bottom half, if indeed it ever existed!

OK, so what does this have to do with LinkedIn? Well I guess the fact that it feels a bit like collecting stickers, only you’re collecting people (headshots just like the football ones). However, in  contrast to the sticker collecting, with which you were hugely motivated to complete your set (Oh, the playground glory of a completed album!) with LinkedIn the process, naturally, never ends and we’re going to be collecting people for eternity. I might feel more ‘up’ about it if my presence on LinkedIn had ever resulted in any professional activity – conversation, learning, visits, but thus far it hasn’t. In contrast Twitter has resulted in heaps of personal and professional developmental opportunities and importantly, unlike LinkedIn, it never feels like I’m just going through the motions when I’m using it.

However, I’m not about to leave it behind any time soon, even if its just for the sake of being there so no-one thinks ‘why’s Andy not on here?’ Also, I do like the ‘Six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ principle behind it all and the idea that I could be introduced to people I don’t know through people I do at some point in the future should I need to. Although I do think the totals proudly displayed on my profile (above) are utterly meaningless!

To be fair to LinkedIn I haven’t exploited all the features it offers and that includes the Groups functionality, so in true Cam23 spirit I’ve signed up for some relevant groups to see where it leads me.

Of course I’m hugely aware that LinkedIn isn’t really being pitched at someone like me. For direct marketers, job seekers, entrepreneurs I can completely see the value, especially the premium access level which allows the sending of cold call emails and the like.

So in conclusion: I’m on LinkedIn but I don’t feel LinkedIn.

Anyone got that Princess Leia sticker?


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