There’s a theory every person in this world is connected to every other person by a chain of no more than six contacts. In his story Chains, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy used the term “chain of acquaintances” to explain the idea.
Since then, there has been much debate as to its validity. Microsoft even conducted an experiment in 2008 using 30 billion emails and other electronic messages. The conclusion? The distance between any two people on the planet is, on average, 6.6 degrees of separation.
After using my LinkedIn profile for about three years now, I’m inclined to believe it.
Why use LinkedIn?
After all, there are many social networks out there. It seems like a new one pops up every week.
And on many of them, it’s very easy to make a connection with another user. In fact, you may end up being connected to someone without even knowing why or how. But you really have to work to make a connection on LinkedIn.
There’s a reason. Several of them, actually.
First, and probably foremost, LinkedIn is a network designed specifically for business people. Connections are not made hastily. They are well thought out and deliberate.
The question isn’t, “why not connect?” The real question is, “why should I?”
There are no games, contests, or playful distractions. While you do get little red flags for messages or other notifications, there’s no cheery little ding. Like the Simon and Garfunkel song bemoans, it’s the “sound of silence.”
But, quiet can be good, very good.
Because it is a business network, many businesses allow access during work hours. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are often banned on company computers.
But, one of the best reasons to use LinkedIn is that its format allows you to promote yourself in the right way, and to the right people. Additionally, many companies use LinkedIn to search for talent.
And that talent includes freelance or independent writers. Writers like you and me.
But, before we get started …
Editor’s Note: This article was previously published by The Professional Writers’ Alliance.