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December, 2011

Dec 11

I ♥ Flipboard!

I received an iPad for Christmas and immediately fell in love with the Flipboard app.  The app, also available for iPhones (as of Dec. 2011), aggregates all web links shared by your contacts on various social networking sites and displays the content in magazine-like format, as shown below.   You flip through the pages of content by sliding your finger across the screen.

Now, I prefer reading social networking updates on Flipboard rather than each social networking site or app for the following reasons:

  1. Scan updates. Flipboard displays enough content for each web link so you can determine if the link is worth reading (or saving to read later – see #2).  If you touch the screen and slide your finger across, you flip to the next page of updates.  The magazine-like display and touch to flip function allow you to quickly scan the information shared by your networks rather than scrolling down pages to read updates and clicking on links.
  2. Save and read later. The Flipboard app syncs with Instapaper and Read It Later.  Choose one for your Flipboard account (you can create either account for free) and you can save links to read later.
  3. Comment, like or share. Finally, you can interact on your social networking sites from the Flipboard app.  If you enjoyed an article shared on Facebook, you can “like” the link.  You can also comment or share links.

Dec 11

LunchMeet for LinkedIn

One recurring theme in my book is the need for job seekers to take online relationships offline.  Now, the free iPhone app LunchMeet facilitates offline meetings with your LinkedIn connections.  LunchMeet syncs with your LinkedIn account and identifies connections who are available to meet for lunch, coffee or drinks.

I love the concept of LunchMeet and decided to try it last night.  I logged in using my LinkedIn username and password.  The app prompted me to set a time slot I was available to meet.   After choosing a date and time, I searched to see who was available to meet.  None of my 1,028 LinkedIn connections appeared in the search results.  The only result was a “Vice President of Information Technology” in the Printing industry (LunchMeet identifies people outside of your LinkedIn network who have indicated they are available to meet, but LunchMeet only reveals the title and industry of the people).

Finally, LunchMeet posted the following update to my LinkedIn profile so my connections who aren’t using LunchMeet will see the note about my availability and (presumably) inquire about LunchMeet.

My initial thoughts about LunchMeet:

  • I continue to think LunchMeet is a great concept designed to facilitate offline meetings.
  • More people need to use LunchMeet for it to become a powerful networking tool.
  • Some professionals might shy away from posting their availability out of fear that “unwanted connections” (e.g., vendors) might take advantage of securing meetings with them.
  • I’m not inclined to meet with non-connections such as the Vice President of Information Technology in the search results above.   My preference is to use LunchMeet to develop the relationships I’ve already created on LinkedIn.

Have you tried LunchMeet?  What are your thoughts?

Dec 11

Are You Tagging Your LinkedIn Connections?

Nick Ducoff recently tweeted that he spent Sunday morning tagging his LinkedIn connections, and his tweet reminded me that many job seekers are not taking advantage of LinkedIn’s tagging feature.  Here are some facts about LinkedIn tags:

  • LinkedIn allows you to create up to 200 tags or labels to assign to your connections.
  • You can assign more than one tag to each connection.
  • The tagging feature is free—you do not need a premium account to tag your connections.
  • LinkedIn provides you with five default tags which you may use or delete:
  1. Partners
  2. Group members
  3. Colleagues
  4. Friends
  5. Classmates
  • When you accept a LinkedIn invitation to connect, the basis for that connection is automatically applied as a default tag.  For example, if Ashley Smith invited me to connect on LinkedIn and indicated that we were “friends,” her profile would be tagged as “friends.”
  • You can delete the default tags and create your own system or you can use the default tags, plus your own tags.  I recommend that job seekers, at a minimum, create tags to better identify their professional connections.
  • You can search your LinkedIn connections by tags.
  • You can send a message to LinkedIn connections with a specific tag.

To illustrate how a job seeker might use the tags, suppose a 2nd year law student at The University of Texas School of Law is interested in employment law and plans to return to Florida, her home state, after graduation.  She might create the following tags for her LinkedIn connections:

  1. Florida lawyers
  2. Employment lawyers
  3. UT Law alumni
  4. Friends
  5. Classmates
  6. Group Members

Before going home for the holidays, this 2L could message her contacts with the “Florida lawyers” tag to schedule meetings/lunches with lawyers in her home state.  Finally, note that a UT Law alum who practices employment law in Florida could have three tags:  Florida lawyers, Employment lawyers and UT Law alumni.

As you organize your job search for 2012, spend some time this week tagging your own LinkedIn connections and then tapping that network in the new year.