The power of being Linked In

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool. Whether you simply want to stay in touch with your colleagues and more remote friends as they move between jobs and emails accounts, rediscover old acquaintances, look for work, or simply play the numbers game on the connections front, it’s a must-have tool for any professional.

One thing I’ve found myself using it for is industrial espionage. Well, OK, maybe not truly that but certainly for corporate investigating. LinkedIn can tell you a lot about a person. If you come across a new name at your customer’s company, a check on LinkedIn (and he’s probably on it) will show you his history – where he’s worked, what he’s done, at least in brief. And if he accepts an invitation to your network, you’ll be able to find out more. Who is in his network? What companies do they work for? Does he have any recommendations, and if so from whom did he get them?

On a number of occasions this has helped me to identify individuals who were clearly “in bed with the competitors”. And LinkedIn’s helpful updates on your network give you a good picture of who is working with who on an ongoing basis. Priceless information. OK, so not as much detail as you’d get from hiring a super-sleuth and bugging offices, but this is legal and free.

Of course, it works in reverse… other folks can spy on *you* too :-).

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About mikbarne
I'm a writer and freelance communications and collaboration consultant with nearly 20 years experience in UK telecommunications, specialising in VoIP, Unified Communications and Collaboration, and building effective communications architectures. Visit my Google+ Profile

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