Logging in to LinkedIn this evening – I was greeted by a LinkedIn Poll. Not been asked to participate before – and the question was relevant (sure they’re watching me!)
What is the most important aspect of a business membership organisation?
There were 4 options:-
1. Practical Support
3. Information & Advice
4. Prestige & Status
Needless to say – you guessed it … I responded “Networking”. As it turns out, of the 189 responses so far – 66% agreed with me (or I agreed with them!).
No real surprise there – but what’s great with this LinkedIn service is that they give you the ability to drill down/cross tabulate the responses. The most fascinating statistic was the age analysis. At one extreme 83% of the 55+ age group give a thumbs up to Networking – but surprisingly less than a third (29%) of 18-24 year olds went for Networking.
Maybe the Twitter/Facebook generation is not as Personal Network focussed as we think?
Other observations are that for some reason women are not as keen on networking as men (these stats hold out in the O’Brien Household)
And equally “stereotypical” are the stats segmented by Job Title. Biz Dev execs rate Networking at 83% – whereas those Finance guys have it down at 33% Networking/33% Practical … and the final stereotype Marketing is 71%/0% Practical!! Go figure…
Check out the stats for yourself at LinkedIn Polls. Would be interesting in how you read the stats!?
Great post Phil! Don’t quote me on this, but I think younger generations feel that they are social enough and have large enough networks that they don’t need anymore. On the other hand, because of their inexperience with business, they are always looking for information and advice.
Older generations, on the other hand, have narrower networks over time that they need to network for to compensate (I wrote about this very thing in my LinkedIn book, if you recall ;-). Older professionals also already have the knowledge they need but instead look for the connections to make things happen.
Does this analysis make sense?
Hi Neal. Thanks for commenting. That’s a great point – my 12 year old son has 310 Facebook Friends (and I just want a great 150 “Dunbar’s Number” worth of great contacts). Analysis makes total sense. Great input – as always. P
Hey Phil – my husband Joe immediately commented regarding the stats that young people need more info / pratical support and that’s why they rank that above networking, which they “do” without even thinking about it….
Me – I find all this rather fascinating as I wrote to you in an e-mail. Not perhaps this stat thing (though I am surprised women rank networking not so high) so much as your admirable focus on developing your understanding of personal networks. Your journey so far on this I find inspiring!
Hi Laury. You and Joe both make good points. It’s interesting that some of the US schools are starting to work with students on personal networking as a route to getting jobs – my surprise was that you cannot confuse “social networking” with “networking”.
Thanks for your kind note about the blog. Don’t know why you are surprised at women’s rank on networking – you are an exception to the rule (and exceptional networker!).
Hey Phil, great post. Honestly I think there is a key theme around maturity here. Sure, younger people have a huge facebook fan base of contacts. However, I honestly do not think that they realise the value or potential of having a well serviced and attended network. Furthermore, what worries me is that they do not recognise the necessity of maintaining presence within your network. Without that a network can easily die.
Hi Chris. Thanks for commenting. I agree with you about younger people not realising the value of a Personal Network – although we can all be guilty of that at times. Very good point about maintaining presence. I am becoming more convinced that on-line is the way to keep “pinging” – and you are right that without this the network can die.