I'm probably not the ideal candidate for social networking. I'm not in sales. I don't research companies to invest in. And I'm not currently looking for a job. What's more, as a journalist, it's usually fairly easy to get access to people. I'm not about to start paying to make a connection with someone outside my network when I can just pick up the phone and set up an interview.So it was with some surprise that I found people continue to flock to these services and even like them. It was only after my conversation with Konstantin Guericke, VP of marketing for LinkedIn, that I realized how useful LinkedIn had become as a search engine.
In most cases, I can find what I want with Google. But there are some things Google isn't good for, like locating ex-Google employees as sources. It turns out LinkedIn is great for that. What's more, LinkedIn is, as far as I can tell, devoid of spam posts, which makes for more relevant search results.
Of course, there's still a downside: It takes time and effort to cultivate connections. You have to commit to using social networking services if they're to be useful. But like a lot of things, it appears you get out of it what you put in.
Now if someone would just figure out a simple way to keep all my contacts online and synchronized with my phone, my PC, and my Mac.