A lesson from LinkedIn: Crowdsourcing your education

  • That response is amazing! I actually put out a similar post when I first entered the CRM space. It’s amazing how many industry vets are out there and are so willing to help.

  • A very simple but very powerful blog. Really makes me want to stop ignoring my network. There are more opportunities in my Linkedin community to put in and extract value than on just about any other of my social networks.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention A lesson from LinkedIn: Crowdsourcing your education »» LinkedIn, business relationships, careers »» Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow} -- Topsy.com()

  • Sorry to be such a cynic, but would a bald, 40 something guy who looks decidedly geeky get the same kind of response?

    Just askin’

  • Mark W Schaefer

    @Lauren Well hello there! Thanks for passing along your story!

    @Michael — Agree. LnkedIn is consistently overlooked as a resource.

    @Jon — Good point. I think the responses were pretty balanced.

  • Mark:

    I have to build that resource. Thank’s for the nudge. To Jon’s point, I bet not if there were no face on the post at all, but I would have responded to a similar question from you (because I know a little about utilities and that’s what matters in this case).


  • Powerful point. LI is a treasure trove. But just like with every tool out there, it’s all about what you do with it 🙂 If you are out there spamming the daylights out of your network (which I see on LI quite a lot — and that is not different from any other network BTW) it will only destroy your credibility. However, coming from the standpoint of learning / contributing to someone else’s learning will enrich your experience.

    Maria Ogneva

  • Mark

    @RJ — I have been amazed at how LinkedIn folks help each other. An awesomre resource!

    @Maria — So nice to hear from you! I am also dismayed b the rising levels of spam on LinkedIn. I have actually been writing people back calling them out on it to try to make them realize that their “tactic” is having a NEGATIVE impact on people! Thanks for your comment.

  • Mark,

    I’ve found Linkedin a very curious animal. The example above I think is one of the best (and few ways) I think Linkedin is useful – casual conversation if you are an employee.

    I’ve been on it for about four years and from an entrepreneurs perspective find it of little value. I’ve been on it though, because knowing how and why something is or isn’t valuable allows me to better serve our clients who look a social media and simply get overwhelmed because the don’t know how to make heads or tails of it. Also as you said in your last post…you never know…

    I will say this – out of all the years I’ve been on it I do have one super cool personal story about it. Here’s a link to it. http://www.cnvrgnc.com/journal-old/2009/10/30/its-crazy-how.html

    As much as I see how much is changing because of the new digital landscape I also see how much isn’t changing…(aaahh the good ol’ saying…the more things change…. 🙂 Have an awesome weekend Mark!

  • Mark

    Rasul – Nice observation. Ironically LI has probably transformed itself the most in the past year of any of the major platforms. I find the Group Q&A forums to be very helpful. As an entrepreneur, you might also want to try the advanced search funtion to scope out potential customers, if you haven’t tried this already. Thanks for the ocmment!

  • Mark,
    I also think that the kind of work you do will also determine how you use social media (or if at all), and how it is or isn’t valuable to you.

    Any good business person knows that in order for you to succeed you have to know your strengths and also where the chinks in your armor are (and deal with each accordingly). In my humble opinion conversation about the weaknesses of social media (and there are plenty) are few and far between.

    No acknowledgement of weaknesses and what they are, at some point will come to bite you in the ass.

    I found you because of an email from Gregg and we connected through blogging. For me the blog platform has much more value for me in understanding, engaging and communicating about the world. Now I’m a life student and I know digital is only going to grow hence why I’m SERIOUSLY engaged in it. But so far, for me and the type of work I’m engaged and the clients we have, Linkedin, doesn’t seem to be opportune at this time (I will check the advanced function and see what I can learn from that). Matter of fact JUST yesterday one of our clients who is a professional speaking coach said she’s had little success with Linkedin and many of their clients come from other sources.

    Also I worked with Seth Godin this past June and helped his team co-ordinate one of his speaking gigs when he came here to DC. Before, during and after nothing really came of my interactions from Linkedin.

    Again from where I sit it’s about knowing your business, knowing yourself and knowing the fundamentals about how to build beneficial and lasting relationships. And sooo often the same lack of relationship building skills that exist offline exist online (and often even worse…).

  • Mark

    Of course these are also very valid points. However I will tantalize you with these facts:

    Two of my three largest customers came to me from LinkedIn.

    I was invited to give a speech at a national conference through LinkedIn.

    Probably 25% of my blog post ideas come from discussions on LinkedIn.

    I created a very successful marketing plan for a customer almost entirely based on LinkedIn Groups.

    And my two most valued freelance partners connected to me through LinkedIn.

    Just sayin’ ; )

  • I hear you Mark. I am FAR from blowing off anything entirely. Just sharing with you my experience thus far. What’s so funny though is that we actually put together a marketing strategy for a client about a year ago and felt pretty confident that a presence on Linkedin would be valuable.

    Thanks for the tantalizing facts! Just for the record I will often argue against my own beliefs just to keep me honest (whether its about something I’m for or against).

    Additionally on the link I sent you, at the end of that blog post, my statement says “…and don’t give up on Linkedin.”

  • What the Internet was made for 🙂

    …It is interesting though, while I have experienced getting less and less replies on forums I have visited for years, I tend to get more (AND better AND faster) response on LinkedIn groups.

    It’s great!

  • Mark,
    The blog and feedback from users give really useful insights into ways to use LinkedIn.
    I’ve been on LI for about 2 yrs, and found it a great way to build credibility through shared contacts.
    Also, contacts in my industry are spread globally so it’s a great way to stay in touch with your network.
    So far, I haven’t really got involved in group discussions, but after reading comments will give this a try.

  • Mark

    @Fransgaard — I have been AMAZED at the wonderful ideas and input I have received on LinkedIn. I try to do my part too by answering interesting questions in the forums when I can. Thanks for your comment Robert!

  • Mark, 
    Never before have we had the opportunity to gain sincere Mentors who literally live all over the world. I’ve been out of undergrad and grad school for a number of years. The most significant mentors (formal and informal) have been found have come through Twitter. SoMe Blush (I need to work on LinkedIn profile.) 

    I’ve found when I reach out to people I’ve begun to “know” though social Media they are happy to make contact. I can’t even count the times when the conversation is coming to an end the person on the other side has make the comment ‘Thanks for reaching out.” 

    This seems like the perfect time to mention that when I reached out to you, we scheduled a phone call. I remember our conversation as relaxed, valuable and you gave me some wonderful suggestions. 

    Thank you once again for your valuable ink and for being such a wonderful mentor to so many of us. 


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