I was just thinking about how linking up used to mean getting together with your friends for drinks or coffee. Or sometimes it meant phoning around to see if your buddies could go to a party. These days linking up is a reference that is about online life. I like my online life, don’t get me wrong, and I have adapted to the terminology, but I wonder if my kids will someday laugh at my old notion of linking up.
Socializing is now done on messaging clients, chat rooms, and online message groups. If that’s not enough for you, you can connect to your family and friends through social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook. They’ve even become verbs: “I’ll Facebook you.” would have been nonsense a few years back, but we all know what it means today (except maybe my 86 year old grandmother, and even then I am not sure). And a Tweet was a sound that birds made, not something you did with a social networking tool.
The brilliant part about all of these online social tools is that they can be used for professional networking and marketing too. Although some workplaces have had a reactionary view of them and have been vocal in banning applications like Facebook and other social networking tools from being used at work, there are many other businesses that are beginning to understand the scope of the benefits these tools offer to a company and its employees.
Melding social networking and business needs has been a core component of LinkedIn’s purpose, so it is no real surprise that LinkedIn is opening up its platform so that developers can amalgamate LinkedIn into their own business applications. The easier it is for users to use LinkedIn, the more traffic will flow through the site.
Twitter clients can already interact with their LinkedIn network updates, and IBM, Research in Motion’s Blackberry, and Microsoft have all approached LinkedIn about developing partnerships. Cross-functionality of social networking platforms will encourage growth and take this phenomenon to the next level. It is smart of LinkedIn to be part of the pack leading this movement.
As it becomes easier to use these internet marketing tools and interact with several of your favourites at once, we will see increased business networking. In the future, not only will it be possible to do marketing through these tools, but it may become easier to post jobs and find appropriate candidates to fill them, solve general business problems, and even coordinate workflow within a work group. The possibilities are vast.
For the moment though, I am just going to go and update my Facebook status, and chat with my online friends. I like being linked up.