I jumped onto the LinkedIn bandwagon in college, added all my classmates in law school, and reached out to old colleagues to re-connect once I was looking for new jobs and legal opportunities. I have pushed law students to join LinkedIn, told lawyers how to use LinkedIn (and other social media sites) ethically, and done one-on-one LinkedIn trainings for legal professionals and law schools.
But recently my tune has changed. I have stopped signing onto the site. I have started ignoring my LinkedIn e-mails.
Why you should unclutter LinkedIn
Sit back and think about how you are using LinkedIn. Do you ever sign on anymore to update your status? Have you marked as “spam” all the e-mails you get from the site because they are annoyingly piling up in your inbox, unread? Was the last time you reached out to connect with someone on the site months ago?
There is a LinkedIn honeymoon phase where it is all so exhilarating, this prospect of connecting and networking with friends and colleagues all across the world. Yet once it ends, and you realize that not much happens on the site amongst those connections, it gets, well, rather dull. If you are like me, that is the time when you move away from the site and start spending more time on Twitter or Facebook, or commenting on your favorite blogs. You change your priorities.
However, over the last few weeks, I have come to realize that LinkedIn holds real potential for lawyers and other professionals. We just have to make sure we are using it right. This is the time to breathe deep, cleanse and unclutter your LinkedIn experience.
How to reduce LinkedIn clutter:
- Remove from your connections anyone that you agreed to connect with that you do not know, and do not think you will derive value from professionally. These are the people who asked you to connect with a message-less email, just because you were in the same blogging or golfing group on LinkedIn. I removed 40 such individuals.
- Leave any groups where you do not care enough to read the updates, news or discussions items posted by other members of the group. Make sure that you are receiving a weekly (rather than daily) update from the groups that you do care about. I left 29 groups, and now only get weekly updates from a few.
- Help to make LinkedIn more like Facebook conversationally. If someone posts something as their status, comment on it. This will keep you engaged, and hopefully encourage people to post more.
- Add a new connection each time you sign on to LinkedIn. Build your network, but do so in a balanced and non-overwhelming fashion. This will also encourage you to keep coming back to the site.
LinkedIn may never be as fascinating as Twitter, nor as warm and inviting as Facebook, but it is nevertheless a critical professional networking tool. By uncluttering your experience of the site, you can make sure that your LinkedIn presence is active, productive and personal. See you online.