LinkedIn has been going for over 11 years and has resurged in user base and usefulness after seemingly getting really popular initially, and then fading a bit (remember Friends Reunited, anyone? – somebody should come up with FiendsReunited.com, though there are many such strange things already on the internet).
LinkedIn has so many uses if you’re looking for details of someone you’re due to meet – maybe you’ll spot a common interest or people you both know, that can help build rapport during the first meeting. It’s even useful to get an idea of what the person looks like, with only a small proportion of idiots on LinkedIn putting pictures of their baby/dog/car/bike/etc as their profile picture. If only the same could be said of the internally-published Outlook Contact Card pictures…
ToW #192 covered LinkedIn a little but it’s worth revisiting the really slick integration to Outlook, as it’s not enabled by default and since most of the ToW readers will be on LinkedIn, it’s worth setting it up. Especially useful when you get LinkedIn requests from colleagues – maybe a sign that they’re soon-to-be-ex-colleagues, so it’s worth having their details easily to hand should you need to keep in touch with them in future.
When you have the Outlook Social Connector set up with LinkedIn (it’s built into Outlook 2013 so you don’t need to go and download anything – older versions can get it from http://linkedin.com/outlook), then Outlook will download useful info for you when it recognises someone’s email address on the LI network. Here’s an example before it’s configured – click on the arrow to the right to expand the People Pane for more information. You may even get a notification at this point that LinkedIn is enabled but you need your password to continue.
Assuming it isn’t enabled yet, the next step is to go into the View tab, look under People Pane and check Account Settings. Tick the LinkedIn box if it’s not already configured, provide your credentials and bingo.
Once you’ve enabled the connector and assuming it’s going to allow download of photos and other info, then Outlook will create a new Contacts group in the People section (CTRL-3, remember?) and it’ll cache elements of your network’s contacts therein.
Without even restarting Outlook, you’ll see the same emails as before will have more details about external recipients – just hover over the person’s mugshot and you’ll see their details, and click on the down arrow within the contact summary to view their other information – such as phone number, if they’ve published that in LinkedIn and are allowing their network to see it.
LinkedIn may be the best business social network / recruiting shop window site out there, but don’t hold out much hope for LinkedIn: The Movie.