Social Media’s Slow Cooker No More

Have you discovered the wonders of a slow cooker? It works in a deceptively simple way: you toss the raw ingredients in the pot in the morning, turn the pot on and then, when you return at the end of the day, you’ll find delicious food in that pot — all ready to eat.  As you can imagine, this is a great help when you’re at the office all day and cannot be home to tend a pot on the stove.

Social media used to have a kind of slow cooker called LinkedIn.  You could open an account, create a profile, toss in a few facts about your work experience or a status update and then walk away.  That information could be left largely untended.  Over time, you might get invitations to connect or, better still, a fantastic job offer.  It worked like magic — just like a slow cooker.

However, LinkedIn has decided it doesn’t want to be quite so passive any longer.  In fact, LinkedIn is set to become an even more critical source of information for the business world.  How are they doing this? By turning a new search engine on all those bits of information we’ve been tossing in the LinkedIn pot.  And, to make the search worthwhile, LinkedIn will be exposing information not just from your contacts, but from any status update created by its more than 70 million users. Here’s how David Kirkpatrick described this new LinkedIn functionality called Signal:

Signal appears, for now, as a separate page inside LinkedIn. In the center is a list of posts—links to articles, statements of opinions about current business or other developments, or whatever else someone posts on their profile. On the left hand column is a set of filters. You can pick your direct connections, second-degree connections (friends of friends), third degree, or anyone on LinkedIn. Other filters are for specific industries, companies, the time something was posted, or where the poster is located. All of these functions are customizable.

So now, if you want to see all the posts over the last day by Facebook employees who work in New York which reference the new movie The Social Network, you can do it. Or all posts by General Motors employees in the past month referencing Ford cars. Or everything said by people in the Internet industry who live in Columbus, Ohio about the book The Facebook Effect (a search I tried, since I’m the author—there were four posts). Your imagination is the only constraint.

With this new search engine in place, it will become doubly important to keep your LinkedIn profile in good shape.  Check it frequently to ensure the information is accurate, current and compelling.  And, above all, make sure that your status updates represent you well.  After all, many more people will now have access to all of it.  Why take a chance?

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In you’d like to participate in LinkedIn’s Signal Beta, you can request an invitation.

Further Reading:

Some Slow Cooker Recipes:

[Hat tip to Euan Semple for pointing me to the David Kirkpatrick piece.]

[Photo Credit: Food Thinkers]

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