Monday, May 2, 2011

Jenny - Practicum Post Six

I encountered something interesting today when I logged into my LinkedIn account and looked at my connection requests. I had a request from a girl that I follow on Twitter, but do not really know in real life. This girl is also a Journalism student at UW, and she looks to be about my age. Up to this point I've only had people add me on LinkedIn if they really know me. Sure, on Facebook I have about 800 friends, but let's be honest, I don't talk to all of them. LinkedIn always suggests you only add friends if you truly know them, and to ensure you do, you have to state how you know the person you are trying to connect with when requesting a connection. With LinkedIn being a social network that encourages professional connections, this makes sense to me. I was therefore faced with the decision to add this girl that I really didn't know or to not add her. Without really thinking I clicked "accept" and went on to look at who had viewed my profile lately. Upon reflecting on my decision, I began to wonder if by doing so I had started to use LinkedIn in a way that it was not intended for. In an effort to explore this further I went into the section that allows you to explore "people you may know," and tried to add someone that I didn't really know that well but that I have class with. To my surprise, all I had to do was click "add connection." I wasn't asked to state how I knew the person. By removing this function on LinkedIn I wonder how the social network will change. Will it become more like Facebook where people have hundreds of connections but only truly know a few of the people they are connected with? I think it will make LinkedIn less personal.

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