Antisocial Journalist Discovers LinkedIn… and becomes a Fan

This is a fun story, courtesy of the Boston Herald.  Reminds me a bit of my mother’s conversion last year to a true LinkedIn fan:

Boston Herald: Antisocial Critic Now Web Phanatic

I finally caved to peer pressure last week, convinced that the “best time to look for a job is when you’re not looking” cliche is all too true. Uploading my e-mail address book into the LinkedIn system, I invited nearly 300 personal and business associates to publicly admit they know me.

“Hi there!

After years of avoiding social networking like the plague, I’ve finally decided to show up to the dance.

Using “plague” and “dance” is a mixed metaphor to be sure, but please forgive me.

We’ve been in touch previously for one of my Boston Herald columns or TV production assignments, and I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Pretending I’m asking for a date to the prom for an agonizing 300 times might have been too cutesy for some recipients. But I thought it was much better than the trust pitch.

A funny thing happened over the next few days. The annoying process of networking became enjoyable. Scratch that. I actually found LinkedIn to be addicting.

“Darren, welcome to the dance!” wrote Joe, a business development guy for a local engineering firm. “Those of us who are poet/artists in marketers’ clothing see (social networking) for what it is – a sort of goofy/fun thing that could actually pay off in many ways.

“So welcome, and may you use your new powers for good not evil. You’ll probably want a Blackberry next – don’t fight it, they’re cool.”

Who would RSVP to my invitation next? How high could I get my number of contacts? I found myself in an undeclared competition with my co-workers. A guy down the hall went to college with one of my favorite TV meteorologists. When he added her to his network, the office considered it a major coup.

At LinkedIn, we spend most of our time working on new and useful ways of leveraging your professional network and professional reputation to make you more effective on a daily basis.  But it’s still amazing to me how emotionally powerful the basic “reconnect” features can be for people.

I think this journalist did a great job capturing how good that first euphoric wave of connection can feel for someone just discovering LinkedIn.  It’s a lot of fun to see in print.

eBay Launches Social Networking… or at least, Neighborhoods

eBay launched Neighborhoods today, part of their big push to re-invigorate activity and excitement around the core of the auction platform.  eBay was built over people connecting about the products and categories that they collect and sell, and this effort definitely attempts to recapture more of that original community feel.

What are Neighborhoods?
Think of Neighborhoods as a gathering place for fans of a certain product, team, artist, and more. They’ve been created around popular items and searches and are designed for members with a very specific interest in mind.

For example, if you’re crazy about Audi automobiles, steer yourself over to that Neighborhood. Or maybe you love the “Slippery When Wet” album…the Bon Jovi Neighborhood could be for you. You’ll be able to find links to Neighborhoods on applicable search results pages and the Community hub, or simply search for them at

Within a Neighborhood, you’ll find a discussion board dedicated to that topic where you can ask and answer questions, brag about your latest auction win, or discuss what’s new. You can upload and share photos related to that topic – and vote on which are best – or check out related listings, reviews, guides and blogs. You can even use our tools to see who else is part of that Neighborhood, or to find other Neighborhoods that might interest you.

Auctionbytes covered the launch basics on their site as well.

You can find eBay Neighborhoods here.  I joined this neighborhood dedicated to the Apple iPhone here.  Performance is incredibly slow right now, but I’m assuming they are working out the kinks there.

I caught some flack a few weeks ago for a post I wrote on Ning, where I basically argued that eBay should have acquired Ning before it received financing at a $200M+ price tag.  At the time, I compared it to eBay Groups, which was the 2004 effort by eBay to upgrade their community functionality.  Clearly, eBay Neighborhoods is a much fairer comparison.


Office 2.0 Panel Wrap-Up

I thought I’d post a quick follow-up to the Office 2.0 conference, especially since I mentioned the appearance on this blog earlier this week.

The Office 2.0 conference is dedicated to exploring the use of Web 2.0 technologies in the enterprise, and I was a bit surprised by the dedication and passion that many of the attendees and fellow panelists had for the topic.

There are a few summaries of the panel that I participated in, called “Social Computing”, already online.

To stick with Jeremiah for a second, his blog calls our panel, “the best panel I’ve seen in a long time.”  In particular, Jeremiah appreciated both the atypical format of the panel as well as the fact that we spent some time talking directly about Facebook and the question of the blurring of social & professional lives, particularly among the millenial generation.  Here’s the direct quote:

While I despised the vendor pitching from one panel on mobile (Attention moderators, control your panelists, respect those who paid to attend) the best panel I’ve seen in a LONG time was the one moderated by Shel Israel, focused on Social Computing, the esteemed panel included: Anil Dash of Six Apart, John McCrea of Plaxo, Adam Nash of LinkedIn, Shiv Singh of Razorfish, Athena von Oech of Ning. I enjoyed the format, it wasn’t the usual Q&A, but each speaker (moderator included) were able to present their ideas and concepts up front, great format. As expected, Anil elevates the conversation to a strategic discussion, it’s always a pleasure to hear him. Many of these vendors are from social networking companies, and although Facebook wasn’t on the panel (those guys are hard to get) the conversation persisted around Facebook. As with most vendors, if they don’t have a ‘facebook strategy’ they pass it as a fad, or are nonchalant attitude. I clearly see the threat for some of these vendors, hence my focus on the topic. I like the shift the panel took, towards the impacts of social computing (social networks, blogs, media, live web) tools towards society, in which Buzz Bruggemen piped up from the audience that he only had business contacts, not personal contacts on Facebook. In response, I tickled the panel for their opinion on personal/business lives meshing, especially with the millennial generation. The panel answered back, that those who had both merged were rare.

I’m probably going to write up something a bit more formal for the official LinkedIn blog on this topic, but as a personal note, I’m proud of the panel for taking on real meaty questions head on, even though a 45-minute window really isn’t enough time to do the topic justice.

For me, the event was my first chance to take some of the vision and excitement from my first few months with LinkedIn, and share it with a public audience.  I’m more convinced than ever that the most important aspects of our professional careers are our reputation, experience, and connections to those who we know and trust, and who know and trust us.  LinkedIn is extremely focused on building a platform that enables professionals to be more effective on a daily basis, and based on the comments of those who came up to me after the panel, it’s clear that this vision resonates with people who are passionate about Web 2.0 in the enterprise.

Valleyfreude Video on Valleywag (Facebook IPO Video)

Sorry, I know I’m just providing blog-chamber echo here, but I had to post.

I had read a while ago about the video, “Valleyfreude” that was made by Randi Jayne, sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  Every article about it highlighted the line:

F*ck you Yahoo, they’re going IPO

Given the recent buzz around Facebook, it wasn’t surprising to have this kind of unpredictible tidbit pop up everywhere.  However, I was a bit surprised and disappointed to find out that the video has been taken down from most sites.

Valleywag still has it here.  Enjoy.  It is worth watching.   Click it now before it’s gone!  🙂

I was surprised to find out that Mark’s little sister seems to have also created video hits like, “How to Get a Guy in Silicon Valley“.

I’m at a loss for words.