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While LinkedIN officially launched in May 2003, I have been a member for about a decade now. I have belonged to many social media sites and slowly eliminated them with just two remaining – LinkedIN and Facebook. I use LinkedIN for business and Facebook for friends and family. My social media style would be conservative and you should not find anything inappropriate on my two profiles. I am not out to shock anyone or drive attention, I just want to maintain connections and appreciate how everyone is doing – I want to be social. At LinkedIN, I tend to find a lot of wonderful articles and great stories; I learn at LinkedIN. It is a great source of new knowledge.  I am also inspired by others, so it is a wonderful site for me personally and I enjoy being a part of it.

My employer promotes LinkedIN as a place to help develop and grow your social eminence. As a lifelong catholic (note lower case “c” as I am not overly committed to religion), I struggle with the use of the word, “eminence” as this word is forever linked to my religious learning in the church, it is not a word that I would ever use to describe myself. Yet, my employer uses it freely to tell us to build our social presence and develop our social eminence. I am still trying to understand what that exactly means.

I decided one year ago to engage at a higher level with LinkedIN by posting articles and stories in the LinkedIN Pulse section. It has always been my habit to share knowledge and experience. Writing has been a creative outlet for me, even though I am not very good at it; but I try. Therefore, I created a few stories and wrote a number of articles related to work topics and specifically regarding smart grids, mining, oil, and gas, and topics pertaining to wireless communications over satellite, microwave, and optical fibre. It has been an enjoyable endeavour so far and I plan to continue.

The reception to my articles has been mixed. Compared to others, I actually fair rather poorly when it comes to statistics for viewers, shares, links, and comments. However, I have been happy if the articles I create are helpful to even one other person, so my goals are not that lofty.

My real goal with LinkedIN is to have fun.  That is it.

This past September, LinkedIN approached me and asked if I would be interested to participate in a launch of a new program. I was to be tagged as a subject matter expert in the field of mining, oil, and gas. If I was active and posted at least three times per week, than my status in the launch of this new program would be maintained and I would be seen as an industry leader. Well, this idea seemed to fit in with my employer’s social eminence goals, so I agreed to participate. It kicked off in early December 2015. Now, after one month has passed, I thought that I would share some of the results from my participation.

Results  LinkedIN

  • Articles
    • Number of articles posted since December 4, 2014 (13 months) = 39
    • Number of articles posted since December 4, 2015 (1 month) = 5
  • Article performance in the past 30 days
    • Best performing article = 8,985 views, 674 likes, 55 comments, 276 shares (oh là là)
    • Worse performing article = 92 views, 9 likes, 1 comment, 1 share (Ouch)
  • Profile Rankings
    • Professionals Like You: December 4, 2015 = 26, January 3, 2016 = 1; out of 94 (nice)
    • IBM Canada: December 4, 2015 = 1,437, January 3, 2016 = 1, out of 8,327 (WOW, I am ahead of Dino!)
    • TeraGo Networks: December 4, 2015 = 17, January 3, 2016 = 1, out of 181 (How could I get ahead of Nicole, the Queen of Social Media?)
    • Your Connections: December 4, 2015 = 1,106, January 3, 2016 = 15, out of 2,376 (Too many amazing contacts for me to be the leader, but happy with the progress nonetheless)
  • Connections and Followers
    • Connections: December 4, 2015 = 2,196, January 3, 2016 = 2,425 (Good quality contacts, not everyone is accepted)
    • Followers: December 4, 2015 = 2,245, January 3, 2016 = 10,899 (WOW, I guess this actually worked, amazing.)

Observations  LinkedIN

While traffic to my LinkedIN profile has grown dramatically, I am not sure of the specific benefits nor outcomes resulting from this project. How does one measure if their social eminence has actually improved? I suppose that the dramatic increase in followers and the number of views of my best article demonstrates some value, but it is all rather abstract to me and I still wonder how value is derived and more importantly, converted into monetary value.

Is social eminence achieved when you reach 10,000 followers?  Or, is it earned at 100,000, or at 1,000,000, or much more?  I will never be equal to Justin Bieber or any other social celebrity when it comes to followers.  I am just a regular nerdy sort of business consultant.  So, social eminence may be measured differently for plain business and technology folks like me compared to a Kardashian Sister or a Hollywood movie star.  Therefore, the scale of measurement of social eminence needs to be aligned to the community, purpose, and function.

The demographic mix of viewers and followers is very diverse, which I appreciate greatly. However, most of the net new traffic is from outside of Canada, so it is of low value to me personally from a business sense. Perhaps it is beneficial to my employer since they are a global business.  I am happy with helping the greater cause, so this is a good result.

There have been a few trolls, but not as many as I expected. A number of rather suspect requests to connect have been received, which I assume are offshore hackers harvesting personal data. I just deleted these clearly inappropriate and fake requests. What has surprised and annoyed me was that a few people tag onto your articles to stimulate benefit for their own gain. They have “liked” all of the comments from my articles to drive traffic to their own profiles, so they can harvest your new contacts. I reached out to one person and she indicated that she was trying to draw new contacts to her so she could sell her recently self-published book. Others offered questionable and unrelated links. These tagged links are likely a very bad idea to click on, so I just deleted all of these tag-along commenter lines to protect my viewers from dubious harm.


Conclusions  LinkedIN

While the results of this project are inconclusive for me, I decided to continue with the efforts. I enjoy the idea of leading in several of my categories and especially enjoy my highly competitive nature to get ahead of recognized industry leaders, such as the president of IBM Canada; an elite social media consultant; and of course, the clear social media leaders at LinkedIN, the human resources staff who generally lead all categories since LinkedIN is so employment driven. If any meaningful results develop, I will share them with the community. Your comments and responses to this project are welcome. Trolls, hackers, and self-serving LinkedIN members need not respond.



About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies. He is a Senior Executive Consultant with IBM Canada’s GTS Network Services Group. Over the past 11 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN:TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO:TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX:TSX.V).  He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisors of four different Colleges in Ontario as well as for 16 years on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three Masters level degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.