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What’s in your LinkedIn?

For the first time ever, I decided to review all of my contacts on LinkedIn. I thought it would be good to wish everyone a Happy New Year and reconnect one-on-one. Unfortunately I had to take a break as after going through the first few hundred, I realized that it was taking a lot of time and effort. While I do not recommend that you try this because it is such a drain of time and energy, it could be worth your effort to do this at least once.

I may never do this exercise again, but at least I have a better understanding as to who are actually in my LinkedIn base. I also discovered some interesting things along the way that may be of interest to you.

First, I should say that I am very careful with who I invite and accept to be a contact on LinkedIn. I keep it strictly to business contacts in the IT industry. I have become more active on LinkedIn since I posted a group called VARCoach about a year ago (please join and invite your followers to join the VARCoach and make comments if you like… I think it is really good stuff for the channel community to know).

Here is what I found so far…

8% of my contacts had left the IT industry. I was not aware of many. It was surprising to see what they were now doing. Some went into real estate, banking, wine making, pet stores etc. There is life after IT! I am not sure why they left, but maybe they just got tired of the daily grind in the IT industry.

I did not know 3% of my contacts and I could not remember how we connected in the first place. Maybe I am just loosing a bit of my memory.

97% I knew! 64% I knew very well and it prompted me to remember some good times! We IT folks can go crazy from time to time! I have built some good friendships and memories over the years. Some I have known for 30 years! Thank you all for connecting with me and I hope we meet again. I feel sometimes, we loose track of the fact people do business with people. Seems like we are all so busy and the noise level is so loud that much of the good human things get overlooked. I also like the fact that many of the people I know are still doing great things in the IT industry. I think we may have IT in our blood!

81% I physically met at some point. Seems like I mainly invite contacts to LinkedIn after I meet them. On average I physically meet at least 400 people in the industry every year so only a fraction was able to connect via LinkedIn. I know this because I always count the number of business cards that I receive so at least I know how and with whom I met.

I was able to communicate with 37% of my LinkedIn contacts within the last year, but only 6% through LinkedIn mail. I was surprised because I thought I communicated with everyone much more through LinkedIn. At least it felt like it! Not sure why, but I think I may have only communicated with my contacts through LinkedIn when I see something that they post or if they send me a note via LinkedIn or their name pops up while I am on LinkedIn. What if linkedIn added Skype-like functionality to their system?

It was good to know that I did some business with 12% of my contacts within the past year. Would be great to double this number this year :o). What percentage of your LinkedIn’s contacts did you do business with over the past year? I have no clue if I am high or low! Would be interesting to build some stats on this.

14% of my contacts were working for a different company or had a different position than I thought. I should read my updates more often! I found this to be the most valuable business intelligence. I do not know if this number is related to the number of people who typically change jobs in any given year, but we all know the Industry is small so it is interesting to see where people pop up. Another way of looking at this number is that 86% remained in the same job. I really thought that there was a lot more people movement in the industry.

I had to stop here because I could keep going on forever, but with these rough stats, I think I got a little better insight into my LinkedIn base. It started out as something that I did for myself, but I thought why not share my findings and get some insights into what others see in their LinkedIn accounts. Maybe your findings will help you in some way.

The funniest part of the experience was seeing some of the photos of my contacts. A few of you may need to update your pic, including me. My LinkedIn profile pic makes me looks 10 years younger because I posted it 10 years ago. It’s one way to remain ageless. I posted a recent pic for this article.

The not-so-funny part of my experience was seeing the additional fields of information that LinkedIn is suggesting to complete. Click “view more” under the “add a section under your profile”. Little by little, they are trying to pull more information from its subscribers. At least it’s optional! LinkedIn is one of the great success stories and I hope they continue to do the right thing.

Julian Lee