Well, I thought that I’d give LinkedIn a bit of a run out – seeing as the last blog post had been having some fun at its expense.

Remember – I’m not a big “networker” (especially on-line). At the start of this blog I had just over 60 connections – and had not pro-actively sought out connections. Also, for the last 4 years I have been “funemployed” after selling my business – so, I thought that I might be a good “test case” to give LinkedIn a real test drive.

I dug out my old contacts (about 1,400 from when I was working full-time) – mixed with a few people that I’ve got to know through projects in the last few years …. and tested how creating connections worked “en-masse” with LinkedIn. Basically, I trawled through the names – and chose 50 who I had enjoyed meeting/working with at various times. I mailed them each with a personal message, a request to connect – and a final paragraph that said “I’m just starting a project around “Personal Networks” – and your name came up on LinkedIn. Do you use it much?”.

I mailed the 50 over the last 24 hours – and the feedback so far is…..

* 5 Out of Office replies (not a great time of year to send these out – as people are on summer holidays/vacations)
* 31 Replied (29 Connections & 2 replied saying they did not really use it).

Some stats on the 50….

* Only 27% of them had pictures on their profile
* The average number of connections my contacts had was 96 (only one had 500+)
* 12 of them had less than 10 connections

The really nice news was, it was great to make contact again. Some really nice people who I had lost contact with – thank you LinkedIn. Other specific bonuses were that:-

* At least two lunches are to be fixed up in London in September
* I opened up discussions about a photo archive project that I’ve been following for a while
* A connection asked if I could help out with contacts in the Equestrian world – and I was able to make a couple of intros (bizarrely – didn’t realise my network stretched so far!)
* I was able to make recommendations to a couple of contacts who had recently been made redundant on how to get best use out of LinkedIn (pointed them towards Neal Schaffer’s excellent blog)
* I found someone who in the last year had got two projects through his LinkedIn network (it does work!)

…. and finally, the most exciting discovery of all….. the title of this blog post. “Sent from my iPhone, so please forgive typos ..”! What a great idea – at the bottom of the reply from my former colleague Graham Lovelace (http://www.lovelace.co.uk/contact.php). If you saw it here first – please give credit to Graham! I’ve always switched this signature off on Blackberrys and iPhones – but I will be using this from now on.

Thanks again LinkedIn – been a very pleasant 24 hours … and I’m now over the magic 100 connections!!

P.S. A little “don’t try this at home” warning. As I did all this research, mailings, analysis of connections, etc – I suddenly got a problem that every click was followed by a request to upgrade to LinkedIn’s Premium Account. See this story about LinkedIn accounts being suspended for overuse – I’ll lay off being so connected for the next few days.

[Update on 19th August – 45 have now replied from the 50]