Link in, be legit

I’ve recently resorted to networking on; a most peculiar thing to do. I actually joined some years ago when I had a job, and never did much of anything there until this year.

LinkedIn is rather like Facebook for workers, and it encourages me to give it as much information as possible about what I do and have done for money and then make connections with others whom I know or who know me. If we all endorse or recommend each other, presumably we’ll do better than if we don’t, since everyone can see how wonderful all our former colleagues and bosses and employees think we are and give us money to be wonderful for them, too.

I can’t say I have much faith in this method of getting work, but I’m willing to try most anything. I suppose more recommendations and endorsements might lead to more work, but I don’t really know how to solicit such praise without putting myself in awkward positions.

For instance, most of my editing and publishing experience was in Minnesota, and I’ve gotten several mentions from people in the Twin Cities. That’s good, and now I feel obligated to do something similar for them. I often don’t want to, though. A lot of the names that pop up sound familiar, and I vaguely feel favorably disposed toward them, but it’s usually a matter of “Oh, I remember him. I think we were on a panel or committee or something once, and I seem to remember him being a decent writer.” That’s as far as it goes, and that’s not enough for me to gush about what a terrific copy editor or organizational consultant or workshop facilitator he is, because I don’t know.

Then there are the people who have endorsed me for something they have no knowledge of. I’ve performed such tasks, maybe even well, but the person in question doesn’t know that. He’s basing his judgment on something else I did that he actually knew about, and I understand that because I’m doing the same thing.

I run across the name of someone I’ve worked with or next to, and I’m confident that since she lasted that long at that publisher, she must know what she’s doing. She may not be brilliant, but I’ll bet she’s competent and I’m willing to say so with an endorsement, although she’s never edited my work and I’ve never seen before-and-after versions of something she did edit—the only way to judge an editor—so I have no personal knowledge of her skills. I’ll take a chance on saying she’s good at what she says she’s good at. I know it’s all just a newfangled résumé, but I like for things to be on the up-and-up.