What You Must Know About LinkedIn Contacts
At the end of April, LinkedIn rolled out another new feature. (Surprise, surprise! LinkedIn is changing again!) Called LinkedIn Contacts, it’s touted as a new way to combine, access and use your information.
Contacts pulls together contact information from your email accounts, calendars, and address books, as well as messages and important notes. LinkedIn designed it to be a convenient, one-stop hub where you can find all of your communications, see what events happened when, and even be reminded of a contact’s birthday.
Available online and as a stand-alone iPhone app, LinkedIn calls this new feature “a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships.” In many ways it is, but like all new technologies some caution is in order.
Some LinkedIn experts are crazy about LinkedIn Contacts. They love how the feature makes it easier to communicate with large numbers of contacts and reminds us to stay in contact. There is a “Lost Touch” feature, because time goes so fast these days it’s easy to forget just how long it’s been since you’ve communicated with certain folks.
This is the type of information that, back in the days of “Mad Men,” Don Draper’s secretary would have monitored for him. (She would have also gone to the store and bought a diamond necklace for his wife, but I digress.) In fact, LinkedIn calls this feature “a personal assistant” for its users.
Contacts is extremely compatible – with Outlook Mail, Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Calendar; Google Apps Mail, Contacts and Calendar; iPhone Address Book (via the LinkedIn Contacts app); Yahoo! Mail, Contacts and Calendar; Contacts and Calendar; Evernote and TripIt; LinkedIn’s CardMunch service. When any of that information is changed, it will be updated in LinkedIn Contacts as well. Pretty slick.
But, (and you were waiting for the “but,” weren’t you?) not everyone is so keen on the new Contacts feature, and for some good reasons. LinkedIn expert, Jason Alba has concerns. Albeit, he’s got JibberJobber (which I do think is awesome, by the way), a competitor with Contacts.
One particular concern is well worth paying attention to. I’ll discuss this briefly, but you can read more about it here.
To sum it up, we’re all becoming accustomed to having our information floating out there in “The Cloud.” But what if something happens to the cloud service we are using? What if it’s not a technical problem, but the result of policy that says that if you do something that the cloud service (read LinkedIn) doesn’t like, and they can make the information in your little cloud go away? You’ve then lost all of your information! The moral of the story here is always back up your data to a secondary service or hard drive. Take nothing for granted.
Since many of my clients don’t know each and every line of LinkedIn’s terms of service, I’ll still recommend using JibberJobber for a CRM, so they don’t ever have to worry about what happens if their account should get shut down. (Don’t think that can happen? I just wrote about one issue that can result in this here.)
But, with a commonsensical approach, and backing up, LinkedIn Contacts is pretty cool. You should check it out. And I expect to hear from you on my next birthday!
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