LinkedIn has never been the most loved social platform, but it is that stable dark horse avoiding the issues currently plaguing Twitter and Facebook. And, with a upgraded networking feature, It could make it appealing to Baby Boomers and Millennials alike.
I learned about it at Jeffrey Hayzlett's recent C-Suite Thought Summit. With it, I was able to instantly connect with virtually all of the other attendees at once.
How to do it
First, make sure you have the LinkedIn app. Next, open it and tap the Network button - often shown as two people standing shoulder to shoulder. The page will suggest people to add to your network, along with data from your current network.
Look for a radar icon and the term "Find nearby", and tap on it. If you have Bluetooth on, then everyone in the vicinity that is on the same LinkedIn app page will show up as potential connections. These are the other people in the room! Tap whomever you want and ask them to join your network.
Why it matters
You lose cards: I adore business cards, which is a remnant of my visits to Japan. I didn't even get rid of them when I lived in Silicon Valley, even when it was at the height of online networking. Even I, though, struggle to keep track of all the cards I receive. I make it a habit to reach out to folks shortly after we trade cards, but a lot can get lost in between. By doing a quick LinkedIn connection, you are ensured to remember the person and follow up if you happen to lose their card.
You lose numbers: During a recent New York trip, a handful of people I met wanted to exchange phone numbers - sometimes via WhatsApp - to stay in touch. Personally, my online/cell phone book looks like a game of Jumble. Worse, if I lose or change phones, I may lose their contact. Again, the LinkedIn quick connect is simple, remote and stable (as long as the platform sticks around).
You lose people: My TED, Afrotech and similar experiences have been wonderful and immersive. They are also high-stimuli: It is easy to get distracted during a conversation, turn back around and have the person you wanted to connect with disappear. The LinkedIn remote follow gives the opportunity to do stay connected, even if you have a brief moment, and build from there.
The LinkedIn platform isn't even my preferred networking tool, but this simple update has made it that much more useful to me.