I joined Linkedin a while back. Someone suggested it was a useful way of making business contacts. He also suggested that I put myself on the Open Networker listing. This means that I'm happy to connect with anyone who invites me to do so.
Since I became a member I've linked to over 3000 people, some of whom share my interests. But, overall, I've wondered about the value, for me personally, of being a member. I can understand that for anyone who is job-seeking or wanting to make contacts within a specific industry, it can be useful. But I'm self employed, both as a counsellor and in running my internet marketing business, and that's quite a different kettle of fish.
But what has worried me recently is that people have started to 'endorse' me for my 'skills and expertise'. I have been endorsed as a doctor, writer, broadcaster, hypnotherapist, public speaker, internet marketer and integrative counsellor by several people who have never met me and don't know me from Adam!
Now, this is very kind of them, and I appreciate the gesture. But what sort of message is it giving to others? It implies, surely, that these people know me and trust me. But, for all they know, I might have made it all up . . . I might be a book-keeper or an insurance salesman or a ballet dancer just playing with an imaginary alter ego. (Actually, if anyone's worried about it, I am exactly what I say I am on Linkedin.)
So how valuable can Linkedin be for making genuine and trustworthy business contacts which, as I understand it, is the whole point of the website? I'm beginning to wonder.