Interesting conversation with a colleague this morning. He was fiddling with his Linkedin profile last night and inadvertently changed an employer name from back in the 1980s – it was an Apple distributor – to ‘Apple.’
Suddenly, Linkedin helpfully tried to put him in touch with his old colleagues from Apple. It provided him with Names, Titles, and in some cases, email addresses – up to and including ‘co-founder’ Steve Wozniak.

I just tried the same thing by changing one of my old employers to the company name of the corporation that acquired it and, sure enough, up popped a list of 52 employees of the new parent company. Linkedin’s plea is that you “Select only the people you know on the handy checklist it gives you.

Three thoughts:

  • There’s little or no point in bulk-inviting total strangers by masquerading as an erstwhile colleague from “way back when,” so I wouldn’t expect this to turn into some kind of link-to-me spamming operation.
  • That being said, I could have harvested 19 email addresses from the 52 people who popped up on my list, so do be careful about where you include your address on Linkedin.
  • If you are trawling for names while researching a company you are considering joining, this could be a useful additional source.

I know the whole idea is to get people connecting to each other, but I wonder is Linkedin just a little over-eager in providing this sort of data …?

[I haven’t written about Linkedin as a networking tool before because its value is (a) self-evident and (b) has been written about very well in many other places. I have nothing to add on that topic, other than I have found the Linkedin experience useful and, in a geeky sort of way, very interesting. If you haven’t fiddled with it yet, I do recommend that you have a go. The link to my profile is over in the sidebar if you want to see it.]