So what does my LinkedIn Map tell me:
- Well, firstly that the LinkedIn Maps gadget is pretty intelligent! Within seconds it created this map for me and categorised my networks efficiently and...erm...categorically.
- The 2 main hubs of my network (the orange hub and the dark blue hub) are connections I've met through industries I've worked in as an in-house lawyer, those being digital media and travel respectively. These hubs are full of people I've met in business, in industry, non-lawyer contacts. These people use LinkedIn big time.
- Despite being a lawyer myself, knowing lots of lawyers and working in private practice for a good proportion of my career, my lawyer connections from private practice using LinkedIn only account for a sprinkling of my LinkedIn contacts, the pink hub and the yellow hub (spot them if you can). Now, on LinkedIn, I hunt for colleagues and business acquaintances I've met in all walks of life in equal measure, so this tells me that, as a breed, the legal industry is significantly under-representing itself on LinkedIn.
- Lawyers I've met solely through the power of social media over the last year, based in both the UK (the green hub) and overseas (the purple hub), and who I've connected with on LinkedIn now out-number my "in the flesh" private practice lawyer connections from over many years who've connected on LinkedIn.
- As a rule, I used to only connect on LinkedIn with individuals I'd physically met or done business with, but social media threw that rule out of the window for me. I'll now connect with individuals I know only through social media channels even if I haven't met them in the real world, where I know there's a beneficial professional relationship, or even if I just like them. However, I still won't connect with individuals who I haven't met with, if I don't know them through a social media channel. Lawyers, if you're not using social media and your competitors are, they have the opportunity to up-turn your established client relationships.
So, in summary: Lots of people use LinkedIn. Not many lawyers do. Lawyers who do use social media are rapidly stealing a march on their counterparts who don't. In terms of making connections and cementing professional relationships, social media works.