Friday, January 7, 2011

'Just Do It'?

One thing I have learned from the inspirational leaders and companies that I have worked for is the importance of ‘just doing it’. The best projects, the most progress in business and even success in sport have come from people who don’t analyse an opportunity to death before making it happen.

There’s a bit of this in my attitude towards this blog.

I found myself whingeing to myself one day about the futility of so-called social media. I sat up, stopped whingeing and decided to try and understand it before criticising it and enrolled myself on a ‘Digital Foundation’ course with the Internet Advertising Bureau (due at the end of this month).

Taking the plunge in Turkey a few years back

But before it came around, I was sitting at home without a permanent job, getting angry that people weren’t snapping at the opportunity of a lifetime to employ me (OK, keep the comments to yourselves), I thought to myself "Right – let’s try this social networking thing" and started reading the “Seven Secrets to Getting Your Next Job using Social Media...".

Way 4 is titled: ‘Capitalise on LinkedIn’: “You should import all your contacts from Outlook, Gmail etc. so that you can start to build your network or grow your existing network.”

OK. So here I am a little bit careful (see previous blog about Christmas card lists). You see you have to be. LinkedIn cleverly takes just about EVERY name from your Yahoo mail account (not just those in your address book), identifies which ones are currently on LinkedIn and puts them first in the list and leaves the rest till later.

The system ticks every single blessed contact creating an instruction to send them an ‘invitation to link in’. However it does give you the option to ‘un-tick’.

Lesson number one all you other Netwerps out there: First of all de-select everyone and ONLY select the ones you want. Me, I found the two clicks required to de-select - too much like hard work and went through individually de-selecting.

When I got to the end of the list of existing LinkedIn members I thought: Right. All sorted. And I pressed Send.


Off goes an irretrievable invitation to 400 people. The 400 people at the end of the list without an existing LinkedIn account. None of which has an interest in LinkedIn.

Two people I have scarcely been in touch checked with me that my account wasn’t sending out automated spam.

Two elderly people, including my father, were completely spooked by the long questionnaire LinkedIn requires you to fill in when registering, having been invited to ‘join’ by their good friend or daughter, Cicely. Terrified of offending me I received apologetic emails or phone calls asking for advice.

However the reply from one friend did get me thinking:
Haven't done this with anybody else, but if it helps you I would be delighted to say that I know you and add my name to your professional network on LinkedIn! - not quite sure what happens then - if anything?!”

So – what does happen next?

(Left) Today's picture is provided by the children of rural village Kono, in Kaduna State, Nigeria. My friends, despite only having set foot in the village 30 minutes previously. They probably know me about as well as some of the people I just invited to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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