LinkedIn Hits a Tipping Point: Annoying distraction turns essential business tool

When you’re a “connector” in the Malcom Gladwell sense of the word there is nothing worse than social networking. Having been a magazine editor and conference producer for many, many years I got to meet tens of thousands of people. Additionally, I’ve traded 200-300 emails daily for over 10 years. On top of all this my email address is permanent (my first name @ my last name).

As a result, when things like Plaxo, Friendster, and LinkedIn came out–with their slick little address uploading tools–my email box went crazy. Plaxo was of course the worst offender, leading me to “get into itwith Tim Koogle at PC Forum a couple of years ago. Of course, this was back when you got 100 emails a week from Plaxo if you want them or not–Plaxo has since cleaned up it’s act.

Anyway, I used to put Linked into the same bucket because I was constantly hit up for introductions and friend requests to the service. A couple of years later I now have almost 2,000 connections and I’m finally getting value you from the service.

How?

Well, they have an amazing job posting service where you can post the job on LinkedIn for around $150 and then it gives you the option of sending the not to people on your contact list. For someone like me that means I get to send to my best contacts easily. Unfortunately LinkedIn doesn’t have a check box to select all your friends, so I had to take 10 minutes to select all my friends page after page after page (you gotta fix that Reid!!!).

Anyway, after sending that email/posting the job out last night I got back–I kid you not–250 emails. That’s like a 10-15% response rate. Now, only 50 of them had to do with the job (the rest were “how you doing!” kind of emails), but the 50 I got back were so fracking targeted it was INSANE. Best $150 I’ve ever spent. Much better than HotJobs or Monster that’s for sure.

Epilogue: This afternoon a headhunter called me asking if I’d filled the position and I told them that I had 2,000 contacts in my Linked in and got 50 amazing leads and that I was having a hard time getting through them all. That’s the real loser in all of this: headhunters. If you’ve got a large network and can put it to work so easily why would you ever give a headhunter $5-20,000 for?!?!

Note: My public LinkedIn Profile is here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=24171
Note2: Why on earth isn’t my public profile http://www.linkedin.com/jasoncalacanis ????