...But you've got to realize it's a pretty boring site.
I really do enjoy social media. LOVE it. As I travel all over the country it is one of the primary means in which I maintain a sense of connection to my social life. Also, it really helps when meeting new people on the road. It's great. Plus, you get to see what I'm eating on a regular basis.
However LinkedIn, the "professional" social networking site, is not a part of that. And why would it be? It is structured to be job-related. Jobs don't change frequently enough to warrant posting and as a result the site has been encouraging somewhat annoying interactions between its members. All of which are really, really, really boring. Dr Brian says he knows how to use SPSS, do you want to endorse him on on this skill? You do? Whoo hoo! That was a blast, thanks LinkedIn for giving us this opportunity to interact. Wow, and I never knew that you had observed me doing statistical analyses on my laptop.
It is true that who you know is important to your career, maybe even more important that what you know. That social network is really important when it comes to job and business opportunities. This serves as a rationale for LinkedIn, and seems to make sense on the surface. But the reality is your social network is who your friends are. The people that you go to happy hour with after work, the people you call up on the weekends, the people who listen to you complain about work. Not all the people in your cubicle farm that don't know how you really dress and you never talk to despite working in the same general space together for a few years but will occasionally make awkward eye contact with as you pass each other in the common areas.
That is not a social network that is going to produce the desired results behind networking. If we've never met, never done business together, never shared a laugh or high-fived over a three-way then why would I think of you when I hear of an opening? Hell, we don't even have to know each other in real life to create a bond. Thanks to other social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter, I've got plenty of online only acquaintances that I'd be way more willing to do business with than 75% of my LinkedIn connections. If I've never seen pictures of your kids, or you've never liked one of my many status updates or retweeted me then you are pretty much guaranteed to be outside of the consideration set when I am hiring or passing on business information.
So that said, quit trying to be my colleague and lets be friends.