Monday, November 19, 2012

LinkedIn is not a game – by a Star Wars expert

I decided to use my full midichlorians and force to prove my expertise in Star Wars. I tried tweets, posts and jedi mind tricks to influence my contacts to endorse my skills in Star Wars.

I had a few people play along and endorse me in Star Wars just because I asked. A few of my contacts know that I am a big Star Wars fan so they endorsed me. One person gave me a 3 question quiz to see if I was qualified.

Star Wars is now my third most endorsed skill with 12, Social Media with 16 and nonprofits with 31 beats it out.

But more interesting to me, was the reaction by many of my colleagues. Many of them questioned my intentions and refused to endorse it. My efforts to make it fun, get it retweeted and gather some muster were very ineffective.

I think many people still respect the validity and professionalism of the platform. I know I do. Having been laid off twice and faced with unexpected job searches, LinkedIn was a resource of value beyond question. My response, interview and job process was directly enhanced through my LinkedIn network. I asked connections for recommendations to get my resume looked at and considered, which really worked!

I hate to see something as valuable to me as LinkedIn “jump the shark” so to say by reaching for the gamification buzz.

LinkedIn is not like other social networks. And in many ways I would argue that it isn’t a social network. But LinkedIn recently launched their new “endorsement” functionality. This allows you to list the skills you are good at, then people can “endorse” that you are good at those skills.

First point – games are typically fun, LinkedIn isn’t. We all saw R2-D2 and Chewbacca play chess right? Chess is a game and fun for many. However, if you are in a situation where you have to let the “wookie” win, it isn’t as fun.

LinkedIn should know that they are playing against “wookie’s” like Facebook and Twitter. They should know to focus on what they do best and leave the silly games to the others. LinkedIn should know what games they can win and who their competitors are. Don’t pick a fight on someone else’s turf.

There are numerous blog posts out there talking about the sillyness of this functionality and how it may cheapen LinkedIn into a popularity contest. I would not go that far at all, but it may dilute it.

My favorite article is the one by Debra (the comments are the best part!):

My favorite comment comes from my friend, Peter Campbell (someone you should hire right now!)

Anyway, I guess my thought is that the endorsements may bring something new, sorta fun and somewhat worthwhile, but at what cost?

Now go endorse my "star wars" skill (as I wave my hand and use my jedi mind trick....) 

And yes, eventually I will finish my series on "Giving staff a voice", just be patient my young padawan.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A New Hope

Star Wars was sold to Disney. Steve Heye now works for The Cara Program ( not the Y. Which is bigger news? (Please don't answer.)

A New Hope. I am excited to start my new role as the Manager of Technology at The Cara Program! Learn more about The Cara Program on their website. My 14 years with the Y now has a special place in my past and it is time for a new challenge.

I have been here for two weeks now and am loving it. The staff are passionate, friendly and work diligently toward the mission of preparing and inspiring motivated individuals to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, transform their lives, strengthen our communities, and forge paths to real and lasting success.

In my role I will work to develop a technology strategy to support, enhance and grow the work that The Cara Program does. I will get to implement and do many of the tactics and strategies that I focus on in this blog. IT Alignment here we come!

My favorite part so far has been how much the management values the passion and character of the staff. Enthusiasm and energy are embraced and encouraged, along with an atmosphere that encourages idea sharing and innovation. So refreshing.

Anyway, just thought I would share this to my small but mighty blog audience. Next post will get back to my give staff a voice series. Until then, May You Meet Your Mission With Tech!