Brokers, connectors, matchmakers, headhunters, scouts and other intermediaries can help bring about desired connections. So, what's an introduction worth?
Relationships are integral to how business gets done. In recent years, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) has helped enable connections...either directly, or though a shared contact.
Including Revealing Info You Might Not Want Others To Know!
With over 100 million registered users (according to Wikipedia) LinkedIn allows us to develop and maintain a robust contact network as well as to explore shared professional interests with others. Of course, as we use LinkedIn we consciously share information about ourselves with others. What most of us don't realize is that we also unintentionally reveal information that we might not want others to see...and for that reason, we should demonstrate some caution.
Anyone with an extensive LinkedIn professional network, some time to spend, and a curious nature can concoct some potentially "juicy" hypotheses about others (which of course, may or may not be valid). This can include making assumptions regarding professional activities and interests. This isn't necessarily damaging in and of itself. After all, few eyebrows would be raised by a corporate beauty care product developer connecting with some new skincare ingredient suppliers. Or, if he was to join a LinkedIn Group named "New Product Development" or "Beauty Care Professionals".
However, what might someone assume about him if he began adding a disconcerting number of executive recruiters to his LinkedIn network? Or, if he recently joined a LinkedIn Groups called "Product Development Jobs"? What might someone assume if a professional colleague within a Food Consumer Products business began rapidly accumulating professional contacts with nanotechnology and/or microencapsulation expertise? I trust you get my point.
I didn't write this in order to promote paranoia, or even to suggest that others begin spending time assessing others' LinkedIn contact networks to divine their motivations. However, I do wish to sensitize my colleagues to the fact that when we use LinkedIn, our activities are often visible to others in our network. And for that reason, we should be sensitive to the signals that we may inadvertently be sending.