This week, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature called InMaps. It’s a visual way to show your full Linkedin network and highlight key source concentrations of your network, trace connectors who are bridges to two or more network sources, and see which sources of your Linkedin network may need to be built up.
Below is the image of the map created for my network. Click on the image to link to the actual Linkedin InMap with the source legend key and more clearly see where connectors bridge to different groups. Each dot on the map represents a connection in my network, and the lines from each connection (dot) trace connections to myself as well as to my other contacts.
A few observations:
- I’ve got 5 primary sources of my professional network. Contacts from:
- Yahoo! Communications Products Group business unit (the large Dark Blue concentration in the upper left)
- Glu Mobile (the Dark Pink concentration in the bottom center area)
- Yahoo Operations Finance (the Green concentration in the upper left center area)
- Indiana, Kelley School of Business MBA program (the Dark Orange concentration in the far right area)
- Intel (light Blue area in the center)
- Connectors between the two Yahoo groups are quite common. After that, connectors are much fewer. A few connectors between Yahoo Communications Group and Glu Mobile are prevelant, a couple between Glu Mobile and Scrapblog (a smaller concentration source). Perhaps, I should introduce more of my connections and see if there is any common benefit from an introduction.
- I worked at and left Ernst & Young before Linkedin was introduced. Consequently, my network of E&Y collegues is quite low. For network sources experienced prior to Linkedin, I would think joining/creating LinkedIn alumni groups would be an easier way to connect rather than awkward reconnections from 10 plus years ago. Likewise, I left Intel before Linkedin become mainstream, so my Intel network on Linkedin is weaker than it should be.
- Linkedin has become the new business card rolodex for my business connections. Even those, I worked with or met once often become Linkedin connections and I no longer keep the business cards or import them elsewhere to any other desktop or online software.
- I have a significant amount of connections from Yahoo!, where I worked from 2005-2007. Not surprisingly, the majority of them are no longer at Yahoo!. A future post will track where those connections have gone and the type of work they are now doing.
Overall, not sure what exactly to do with this InMap, but for an analytical geek like me, I certainly enjoy the output. I wish they provided some statistics with this map such as the number of contacts with common connections between different sources. I’m sure those improvements will come in future iterations. In any case, in today’s professional environment, I think building a stronger professional network on Linkedin or other sources is important. Job durations are increasingly become shorter (both driven by the employee and sometimes from an employer via layoffs), work is more often becoming freelanced based, entrepreneurship is growing, and global collaborations are becoming essential, making the ability to network much more critical. Services like LinkedIn are only going to become more important and critical.