I get a few invitations a week to either “connect” with or “endorse” someone on the social networking site LinkedIn. I usually respond to most of the requests I receive because I think it is the polite thing to do.
Having said this, I am still unsure how academics might benefit from using LinkedIn. This is not to say that I don’t believe that academics CAN benefit from LinkedIn–I have just not found it to be useful. For example, the only time I ever log onto the site is when I am responding to someone’s request.
What am I missing?
How do you use LinkedIn?
Gabriel Loiacono says
I liked LinkedIn because it is a more professional version of facebook. When students want to remain connected after a class, for example, it is a nice way to keep that professional relationship without flooding their facebook accounts with pictures of family and other rather personal things. In addition, I am trying to build an alumni group on LinkedIn, to help my department's alumni remain connected, see what other history majors do for work, and perhaps to foster more of an alumni community. That's my hope, anyhow.
Academics, particularly those who are at a higher ed institution, should be using LinkedIn for their students, not for them. My wife is a career counselor at a university, and career centers across the country are using LinkedIn, because companies across the country are using it to recruit. By building a strong professional network, and linking with your students who take lots of classes with you, who do research with you, or who you advise, you expand their LinkedIn network in this way. When they look for jobs, they can then peer into your professional network, ask for introductions to your colleagues, and so on. This is the real value for faculty members: to help your students make connections and expand their own networks.