This week, I published my first post on the LinkedIn Influencer blog series. It was a huge honor for me, since the influencers contributing original essays there are a select collection of some 400 entrepreneurs, authors, CEOs, mayors and at least one president sharing ideas, insights, prescriptions and philosophies on the business of work and, sometimes, simply life.
(It was also an angsty honor: When elation at the invitation gives way to self-doubt, anxiety and a general What do I possibly have to add to that group? Then I slapped myself and snapped out of it.)
LinkedIn launched the program this past fall as content catnip to attract more regular readership and interaction; an antidote to the occasional visits by those looking for new work or new clients.
It thrills me to be a newbie to its series. But it also thrills me to see LinkedIn gaining ground as an interesting place to hang out. I’ve long held that LinkedIn is the dark horse of the social media platforms—or, at least, it’s the workhorse of the bunch.
If Twitter is where you go to meet people you don’t know and Facebook is where you go to talk with people you already know, then LinkedIn is where all of you can meet up to get stuff done together.
But, until recently, LinkedIn had trouble seeming like anything more than the less-popular party that none of the kids really want to go to because the parents are home supervising. Or (as I wrote in Entrepreneur), it felt like a stuffy reception room with piped-in music at one of those soulless function facilities conveniently located at the end of an exit ramp.
The Influencer program is an effort to change that rep — who doesn’t want to know why Richard Branson (who is my CEO Crush, by the way) considers summer a time of inspiration? Other recent content programs include:
- more engaging Company pages (which just hit the 3 million mark);
- new features on the LinkedIn homepage that offer a Facebook-like stream of more updates and curated links (but with less noise and more relevance);
- more streamlined (if slightly creepy!) insights like the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” sidebar additions.
I’m trying to use a word other than “robust” to describe what’s going on there. But that’s the word that’s coming to mind. All of this means that I’ve been spending more time on LinkedIn than I did, say, a year ago.
My first Influencer post, titled Why You Should Work for Free (Sometimes), relays how I’ve been preoccupied lately with the idea of giving back. I talk about how various “passion projects” of some friends of mine—like Joe Chernov, David Deal, and AJ and Melissa Leon—have inspired me to cast about for an opportunity to do what they are: applying what they know to help causes they care about—causes championed by organizations that probably wouldn’t otherwise have ready resources or expertise. As I wrote, a passion project isn’t volunteering; rather, it’s offering your own specific professional expertise to a cause or project you care about.
Please give the post a read, and—if you like it when you do—consider following me over there by, well, clicking the Follow button next to the post! (Not sure I needed to actually specify that last part. Did that sound overly prescriptive? Sorry.)
Based on the number of comments and shares and notes Influencer essays are getting, I’d guess that LinkedIn is pretty happy with the content catnip they’ve strewn about their place. It seems to be attracting the engagement LinkedIn needed. (Cats and the Internet: Always a winning combination, I suppose.)
So how about you? Are you, like me, spending more time on LinkedIn than you were a year ago? Are you finding more content value there?