At the beginning, there was LinkedIn. One of the first social networks. One of the first business social networks. Definitely my first social network.

While the idea of networking was made quite clear by LinkedIn right from the beginning, it didn’t feel like much of a social tool. Everything was so still. It wasn’t until the dynamics of Facebook took over, that the LinkedIn people started to evolve.

So after expanding my business social network greatly through Facebook and Meetup, crowning the Ning networks as best sources for what I needed, ignoring the not very useful (for me) Xing, looking down at the snobs’ network ASW which won’t endorse socializing, toying a little with Twitter and trying to figure out why Pulse, I came back to LinkedIn.

Inch by inch they adopt more and more ideas from Facebook. One of the best adoptions – the groups. Early on I established the “Israel Hi-Tech Entrepreneurs Wherever” group and it’s got some really interesting members now, all willing to share their experience in establishing hi-tech global companies, being Israeli, here or there.

Unlike Ning, where every group sharing an interest is a totally separate network, with different site structure and members, here, on LinkedIn, all the groups do belong to one big network – the LinkedIn. All groups look the same, and surprisingly, the fact that they are not personalized (other than the group’s logo) actually helps to manage with several groups:
All relevant messages go into the same LinkedIn inbox. It’s on the same site that I can find pretty comprehensive and relevant information about the people who contribute from their knowledge to the groups’ discussions.

The best thing, really, is the ability to connect with total strangers not for the sake of creating the Guinness-Book-Of-Records longest contacts list, but for real relevant professional exchange of information, knowledge and expert opinions.

So I joined a couple of new groups, got replies to really important questions, and found some new friends from really ‘exotic’ countries, whom I never could have found had it not been for this groups method.

(More about my new found friends will follow)