Six degrees of help me, I can’t stop

By Mir
February 15, 2007

Do you know Jen? She’s a lovely woman. Delightful. I enjoy her very much.

Or, rather, I DID. Not anymore. Because now I know that she’s a foul temptress bent on destroying civilization as we know it.

You see, Jen thought she’d be doing me a big favor by inviting me to join LinkedIn, and she raved to me about how great it is, so I went ahead and signed up. And she was right, she WAS doing me a big favor, in much the same way those guys who tell you that you should just try it because one little bit won’t hurt you are doing THEIR friends a big favor.

I have fallen into LinkedIn, and I can’t get up.

The idea behind LinkedIn is that you’re able to build a concrete, easily accessible representation of all your social networking resources. So I add Jen as a contact, for example, and then when I’m trying to snag a contact at XYZ corporation, I happen to notice that Jen has someone from XYZ in her contacts, and then I can ask for an introduction. Or maybe I’m just sitting here at my computer in my jammies and some random person who happens to have one of my contacts as a contact is thinking of hiring a freelance writer who spends a lot of time in her pajamas and they peruse their contacts’ contacts and find me and figure I must be Good People because someone they’ve already given the seal of approval to has me listed.

Not that there’s a place in the profile to mention my pajama-wearing habits. But you get the general idea.

So I’m working on my profile. I’m adding connections. I’m searching for people I haven’t talked to in twenty years, because MAYBE THEY KNOW PEOPLE I SHOULD KNOW. Have I used LinkedIn to increase my business visibility or procure additional contracts? No. Have I used LinkedIn as a distraction from all the contracts I already have and the work that needs doing right NOW? Hell yes.

To be fair, I only just signed up yesterday, but it’s addictive. Looking for people I know. Looking at the contacts of people I already linked to (do I know any of them? what do they do? do they look interesting?). Sending emails to customer service to complain about the interface. (Sorry. You can take the writer out of human factors engineering but… oh, nevermind.)

There’s this whole system of ratings and recommendations and questions and answers and I feel compelled to figure it all out and I don’t even know why. Seriously. I mean, I have something like 35,000 people in my extended network but I think I need JUST A FEW MORE. Just in case the first thirty thousand come down with ebola, or something. I need to have spares around.

If Jen offers to send you something cool, JUST SAY NO.


  1. Mel (Mama! Mama!)

    I was invited to LinkedIn by one of my vendors. I signed up and was immediately overwhelmed by all that is LinkedIn. I haven’t gone back since. I am a lousy networker. Don’t let it suck you in. Break free…Break free!!! Too dramatic?

  2. Jen

    Tomorrow? We recommend each other. That is the final frontier to 100% completed-ness.

    Guy Kawasaki still hasn’t gotten back to me. What do you think that means????

  3. Cele

    Thank God I am as linked and networked as I think I need to be.

    If there was a little shelf for symbols and totems right here, it would be filled with oaken stakes, garlic, crosses, and Fuller Brush Salesmen.

  4. Lady M

    So far, I’ve managed to just accept the invitations I’ve been sent and ignore the rest of it. Not a very good use of networking, but you can tell me if it turns out well and then I’ll follow! :)

  5. tori

    I use blogs for “my putting things off wasting time” time. I am not even going to check it out that site because I bet I would just add another time waster to my day.

  6. Bob

    and here I thought Mir’s blog served that purpose well.

  7. Brown Eyed Girl

    “Myspace for grownups” LOL.

    Oh my word….that’s funny shit.

    I love your blog and everyone that reads it.

    The end.

  8. Mary P

    Too late. She invited me, I’m in. But now I’m poised at the gate, kind of hesitant to head through and in. I used to be a shy kid. Mostly I’ve outgrown/overcome it – and then, at weird, random times like this, it leaps out and freezes me. *sigh*

  9. Juliness

    I signed up for LinkedIn a while back then totally forgot about it for months. In the last week I’ve gotten three new invites (and accepted them) so it looks like I’m gonna get re-acquainted real quick.

    Dude…Stanford? You rock!

  10. Heidi

    Uh oh. If anyone offers you some Kool-Aid, don’t drink it.

  11. Liise

    I think I will just keep walking through this post and see you on Monday


  12. Amy-Go

    Ummmm, WHAT? I speak for the computer challenged. ;)

  13. Sophie

    You’re just friendly, nice, and outgoing — that’s all. Actually, this is what blogging has become for me. I know that I’m gonna get fired. I’ve got the cardboard box underneath my desk right now so that I can make a hasty exit. I’ll check out Lundekin (whatever) when that day comes.

  14. MomCat

    Do they have a network for mothers who volunteer too much? Perhaps I could be linked in with some other artistic moms who can take over when my kid is down with strep throat and the backdrops I am painting for the middle school production are due next week? Cuz that’s the kind of networking I need in my life right now. :)

  15. Susan

    Jen made me sign up too. Dammit.

    I mean, HOORAY!

  16. Neil

    The only thing I found through LinkedIn was an old camp counselor.

  17. Melanie

    That’s like how I got about StumbleUpon until I took the toolbar out of my toolbar-thingy at the top. I spent a looooong time stumbling upon cool stuff I would never have found and didn’t really need to find.

  18. Nichole

    I signed up awhile back, too, and haven’t done a thing with it since!

  19. Cynthia Samuels

    I’ve actually gotten calls from headhunters and found a couple of old colleagues. It can work well. Mir, you know since you’re moving it might actually be useful to have a profile that includes your availability now in that part of the world, too. Even in the borderless Internet universe people like to hire writers they can have meetings with sometimes…

  20. dorothy

    I was wondering! You’re not the only one who has gone LinkedIn Mad lately – ha – but certainly the most fun!

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