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May 13, 2008

LinkedIn, Social Networking and Creating Value for Alumni at Case Western Reserve University

Quietly, and without a lot of fanfare, we began a project 30 days ago to create a "Group" for Case Western Reserve University using the social networking tool known as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform technology that enables subscribers to create professional profiles. The value of the platform technology is its ability to allow you to sort your online Rolodex of contacts and, more importantly, the 3 or 4 degrees of association/separation, that is professional contacts of those people that you know and trust.


Today, the 400th LinkedIn subscriber joined the Case Western Reserve University Group. If you haven't created a profile, here is a link to the one I created 3 years ago. Back in October during an online exchange with Dan Nye, CEO of LinkedIn facilitated by the New York Times, I asked him whether LinkedIn was re-opening up the service to alumni and other-related University activities. Dan's response
suggested that the service was ready to open up to groups, in a big way.

I hope readers of the Bytes from Lev blog will make suggestions on the ways in which we can use the affinity group to advance the value of the social network. If you haven't already read Guy Kawasaki's top 10 ways to use Linked in, it's a terrific a starting point.

Here are some other ideas that I've been thinking about and I hope you'll offer feedback.

As some of our alumni know, I'm interested in an alumni 'visiting group' to help with specific suggestions and enagement on the ways in which we can use technology to create value for our students and our alumni. My first thought was to use the Case LinkedIn Group to ask for input and feedback. We'll probably use a structured wiki to convene the visiting group and structure dialog and suggestions on initiatives to explore.

Second, I've been amazed at the geographic diversity of the Case LinkedIn Group. While the university has alumni chapters in various large metropolitan areas, I thought the LinkedIn Group might be an interesting data source for inviting alumni to virtual meetings related to continuing professional development, updates, and opportunities for professional networking. We've held a number of these kinds of sessions in SecondLife and using Adobe Connect. Let me know if that is of interest to you, especially if you're not in a major city where we have a critical mass of other alum.

Third, there are a number of other organizational units within the University who are interested in structured feedback from diverse constituencies. Perhaps there is a way to use LinkedIn to facilitate regular feedback on everything from planning, to mentoring, to helping contact a prospective students in your area who has expressed interest in Case Western Reserve University.

Finally, let us know how you think using the network of 400 and soon 1000 alumni, faculty, and staff can advance your professional networking interests.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
May 11, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at May 13, 2008 05:13 PM and tagged

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