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Getting Linked

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Getting Linked

If you’re a frequent reader of this column, you know that sometimes, I’ll lampoon myself for being old, or for having a ridiculous mustache, or for being a cartoon with a tiny body and an enormous head. Other than that, I don’t really like to write about myself—probably because I see myself every day, and enough already.

So, when our operations director, Becky Kingman-Gros, urged me to write about my newly found status as a LinkedIn Legend, I balked at the notion as hubris.

I always liked that word, “hubris.” It’s almost as cool as “quaff.” But I digress.

What started this whole thing was an email I got from LinkedIn, that business networking site to which most employed citizens of Earth belong, congratulating me thusly:

“Frank, congratulations! You have one of the top 5 percent most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for playing a unique part in our community!”

The meaning of that didn’t sink in immediately. I can’t imagine being in the top 5 percent of a number as large as 200 million of anything, except maybe the longest sentences ever written in a trade magazine. The numbers stagger me: Of 200 million members of LinkedIn who ever looked at someone’s profile, they clicked on mine more than 190 million others. Or, it could mean 190 million LinkedIn members out of 200 million clicked on my professional profile.

As I try to digest those numbers, I wonder if it means I’m some kind of big shot, or if it just means that 190 million people found my image amusing enough to warrant further exploration. You know, like when you see a chimpanzee wearing overalls.

In any event, I’ve always felt LinkedIn was a good networking tool for business, and there are a lot of people who feel the same way. Just to have 200 million members is a mind-boggling concept in itself. There are still some things, though, that I don’t understand about the professional network.

For instance, what are the endorsements all about? I’m always getting endorsed by people, and if you are one of the professionals who did this, thank you very much. I’m just not sure how to respond when I get the message.

“Congratulations! Phil Stein endorsed you for gaming and editor.”

Umm… Thanks, Phil. Really.

There is a little button there that says “Continue,” but it doesn’t take me to Phil’s page so I can thank him for endorsing me. It takes me to my own profile, and asks me if I want to add more stuff about myself, and then it asks me if I want to endorse all my other connections:

“Does Rob Wilkinson know about hang-gliding? Endorse.”

“Is Basil Hamilton a good stalker? Endorse.”

Now, with 200 million members, this chain-endorsing could grow into an endless stroke festival: “You’re good. But don’t forget, you’re good too. And this woman over here? She’s really good at this other stuff. But not as good as that guy.” If I don’t respond to your kind endorsements by endorsing others, please don’t think it’s because I don’t appreciate the endorsements; I do. I just like to break the chain now and then.

LinkedIn also gives you a chance to seek out new connections, by matching up areas of your business profile with other professionals. It’s sort of like the eHarmony of professional networking. The only thing I don’t like is when you have to refuse a connection. Once in a while, I’ll get a request to connect from, say, “Yuri in Krakow,” with no information in the profile at all.

I ignore those connection requests, but not without a tinge of guilt. I mean, rejection from a professional networking site can’t be pleasant. The connections I have made, though, make for a very useful network of contacts.

So, in conclusion, let me thank my LinkedIn family of 190 million for seeking out my professional information. I’d like to think it’s a reflection of the job we do here at Global Gaming Business, and on the high quality of all of our fine publications (information on which, incidentally, you can find on our magazine’s LinkedIn page).

Or, it could just be the chimpanzee thing. But thanks just the same.

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