One of my former bosses sent me an invitation to join the [LinkedIn] network. It’s primarily a professional networking site, but it also supports some more general social networking via users’ personal interests as well as groups and associations. It looked interesting, or at least worthy of further investigation, so I joined with a Personal Account (read “for free”).
After playing around with this site for a couple of days, my opinion is that it could be incredibly useful. I work at [Sac State University], and I *wish* I’d had access to something like this back when I was a student in [Engineering & Computer Science][ecs]. This would be a great way to keep track of classmates, project partners, instructors, etc. while attending college–an excellent start for your professional network! But even now that I’m well along in my professional career, I’m sure that I can benefit from this service. I’ve developed close ties with many of my former co-workers, only to lose track of them when they (or I) changed jobs, moved, got a new email address, whatever.
Something I should have changed right out of the gate is the *Send Profile Updates* setting, otherwise known as “Spam My Contacts” since it causes LI to send emails to all of your contacts whenever you make ‘significant’ changes in your profile. To fix this, go to *Account & Settings* (at the top of the LI page), then find the *Profile Updates* link. If you’re logged in to the site already, [this link](https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings?prof=&goback=%2Eaas “Update your LinkedIn profile settings”) should take you straight there. Under *Sending*, select *Don’t send automatic updates*. Apologies to all my new contacts who received spurious email due to my oversight this week, but at least I caught on to this within 48 hours of signing up!
This is a useful service, and I recommend it; however, I’d make regular backup copies of your contacts. (You never know when a free service might change their terms of service, or go toes-up. Be prepared!) There’s an [Export all connections] link on the Contact page. Use it early and often!
[Sac State University]: http://www.csus.edu/
[export all connections]: http://www.linkedin.com/addressBookExport