It has come to my attention that having a profile on LinkedIn is something that is expected of people working outside academia and/or looking for non-academic work. I understand that in principle this website is supposed to connect you with an ever-expanding collection of individuals with whom you can network. What exactly I’m supposed to do with this information is unclear to me. It is entirely possible that I’m just bad at networking. The last time I gave my card to someone at an academic conference the person looked at me like I was a lunatic. For having a business card? For giving her one? For smiling during super serious conference times? It was unclear. It’s true that I have done a couple of informational interviews with friends of a friend, which were very useful. Those connections, however, came about through old-fashioned, casual Facebook chat technology (ME: I’ve been thinking about doing X. FRIEND: I know someone who does X! I’ll send you their email. ME: kthxbai). I’m just not sure how I’m supposed to make use of my vast LinkedIn web that consists of 353,600+ third degree connections other than doing some cold contacting. So, have any of you made productive use of LinkedIn? What do you do with it exactly?
Oh, and an important disclaimer: I’m not actually drunk in my profile pic.