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I received an interesting email this week from the folks over at LinkedIn – an invitation to try out a new feature – profile tagging.

And when this is released, I think you’re going to like it;-)

Outward appearances suggest it will replace the existing “Connections” list, and give you more control over grouping, identifying, and using subsets of your connection list.

Tagging

In case you haven’t used tagging before, it’s simply connecting an identifying word or phrase – a “tag” – to something – in this case, a profile.

LinkedIn will suggest a few for you, but don’t limit your imagination.  And limits will certainly be explored here: How many different tags can you create? How many tags can you place on any one connection?  I’ve found that these sorts of numbers will be explored quickly by others that always run up to the maximum – I’m sure if you modestly use tags, you’ll be ok;-)

The GUI to tage is reasonably intuitive – select connections, edit tags, add new tags or delete them.  An I’m also sure it will go through some fine tuning, so don’t try to memorize it;-)

Tag suggestions

One of the things I’ve wanted to do is put a label on my connections – something like “people I’ve known while working at XYZ”.  That’s now an easy task – I can just put the tag XYZ on those contacts and I’m all set.

That’s extensible to any company, professional or social group – each can have a unique tag.

* Note – this does not replace or change the group functionality, but represents a feature for your conections.  If I belong to the group of UB Alumni, that puts me in touch with every other member – and does not imply that I happen to know any of them.  If I tag a dozen of my connections with “UB”, I have a handy way of jogging my memory about how I know those individuals, and as you see below – how to quickly get in touch.

If you wanted to try, you could use a unique tag for each connection (as opposed to a group).  I’m not sure that would work well in the long run, but for some people that might be one way to give a quick visual identifier. [You can use another beta, “view and edit details”, to record information about connections, but I’m still not happy with how the information flows back to the user]

View by tag

Once you’ve made a tag, you can now go to your connections and quickly see all the people you’ve given this tag to.

Instead of having the alphabet along the side, the screen lists your tag names, allowing you to quickly sort them.

In addition to the tag area, additional sorting criteria is offered in the form of common companies, locations, and industries.  “Who do I connect to in LA?” [Mark, Jeanie, and Linda – quickly answered;-]

This will let you work with your 1st degree connections much more effectively.

Getting in touch

LinkedIn has had a mechanism to email and get in touch with 1st degree contacts, but as I discussed in September – I didn’t think much of it.

This new tagging makes that a bit better – if I can quickly send a message to everyone that worked with me on the ABC project, I win.  (Ok, I can have an email group that does the same thing, but I tend not to create or manage such things…)

Just go to the connections area, select the tag, click “send a message” and select those to get the message. [and “all” might be the right way to do that…]

The rules here are a bit strict though – you can only send out a message to 50 people at once.  This keeps other people from using the system to send out mass mailings – and that is a good thing (IMHO).  (And yes, it keeps you and I from sending out a mass mailing as well – and that’s good too, even if we might want to do that once in a while…-)

If you end up tagging hundreds of people with one tag though, this may not be an effective way for you to get in contact with those people. [but if you follow my advice to only connect with people you know and trust, I doubt you’ll run into this problem;-]

Enjoy.

To your continued success,
steve


Steven Tylock
http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock