For those of our readers who do not already know, LinkedIn is a popular professional networking website, that focuses on establishing a user's professional network through their connections in the corporate or business world, allowing them to post their educational background, work/job history, list of awards and achievements, and other interests on their profile, enabling other LinkedIn users to see their standing as a professional up close. Sans the non-serious fun and games associated with other popular social networking websites, such as MySpace and Facebook, LinkedIn is no-nonsense business and professional networking.
Here is a short video about how LinkedIn works, and how it provides a user with opportunities through its virtual network:
Although I have had my profile up there since quite some time now, it is just recently that I noticed how LinkedIn has added some more features to its users' homepage, which will allow the latter to display more information about their background in a professional light. Basically, now a LinkedIn user will be able to better market themselves to prospective clients, employers, recruiters and business partners through these added features and applications, which we'll discuss below.
I started to think about how good it would be if Muslims all over the world were interconnected on LinkedIn, based on their common da'wah activities and interests, not just their professions. For example, here on Muslimmatters.org we have people of diverse professions blogging, working behind the scenes (e.g. doing editing and technical work), and last but not least, tenaciously reading and commenting on the posts to keep the blog interesting and active.
We have doctors, teachers, writers, publishers, engineers and lawyers all visiting Muslimmatters to enable this combined blogging effort to achieve fruition. However, when I searched for Muslimmatters.org on LinkedIn, I was disappointed to come up with nothing. A name search, on the other hand, revealed that some very familiar people here on Muslimmatters are definitely present in the LinkedIn network, and with a significant number of professional connections at that!
This means that it will take only a few simple steps to further strengthen Muslims' presence on LinkedIn.
- Get registered:If you are a professional with a few years of experience in your field, but you are not on LinkedIn already, it is about time you were! Join and find your friends and colleagues on LinkedIn. Then send them connection invites.
- Add Muslimmatters as a “Current Position” in your title or tagline, or as an interest:For those of Muslimmatters.org staff members who are passionately involved up to their ears in the blog, you can add another “current position” to that of your main profession: e.g. “Editor at Muslimmatters.org”, or “Blogger at Muslimmatters.org”. If not that, at least you can make a passing reference to Muslimmatters in your profile, by mentioning it in your interests or hobbies. That way, more results will pop up when someone searches for 'Muslimmatters' on LinkedIn.
- Form a Muslimmatters.org group on LinkedIn:This is a special request to those of the MM technical staff that are already LinkedIn users – please create a group for Muslimmatters, complete with a logo and administrator, which can be joined by all of its bloggers, staff members, regular readers and commenters who are registered users on LinkedIn.
Whoever will join the group, will have its logo and name displayed in the “Groups and Associations” tab on their profile. Even if your main profession is that of a doctor or accountant, for example, but you read Muslimmatters.org regularly, you can join the group and have its logo displayed on your profile to indicate your interest in it as a “hobby” or passion.
- Start discussions and pose questions on this group:I have recently joined a couple of writers' groups on LinkedIn and have been pleasantly surprised how the active discussions on these groups have added to my general writing knowledge, after just a few days of cursory reading, without even participating actively. You can read an article by The Washington Post about how LinkedIn has improved its groups by clicking here.
Each groups' activity is displayed on my homepage when I sign in on LinkedIn. This includes discussion topics started and users' responses to those topics. When any of the users respond to or comment on a topic of discussion, the current position they hold in their company gets displayed next to their picture, enabling me to know spot-on what their professional standing is i.e. what they do (e.g. journalist/freelance contributor) and where they are employed (e.g. The National Networker/The Business Insider).
- Add Muslimmatters.org posts feed to your profile by using the WordPress or Blog Link applications that have been added as useful features on LinkedIn:If you are a Muslimmatters.org staff member, you can use the WordPress application to add Muslimmatters to your profile. If you are a reader, you can use Blog Link. Muslimmatters posts will then appear on your profile to anyone who is viewing it. Also, these blog posts will appear on the homepages of those of your connections who have also used the Blog Link application to add their own blogs to their profiles. Think of how much more readerships (and clicks!) can be generated by using these applications to promote Muslimmatters on LinkedIn!
- Use the group to get the word out about new openings or ventures:Just like Facebook, groups on LinkedIn are a great way to hire help or to recruit new people. Recently, for example, it was made known that Muslimmatters.org articles are to be compiled and published as a book. Also, there have been requests for articles on Muslimmatters to be translated into other languages. Once Muslimmatters has established itself firmly within the writing and publishing professionals' network on LinkedIn, finding a publisher or translator by getting the word out among a network of thousands of professionals would be even easier, inshā'Allāh. This would just add another dimension to the whole Muslimmatters phenomenon.
Here is an article by a blogger for “The Business Insider”, which emphasizes how LinkedIn networking is essential for professional success today. He quotes Barack Obama's recent success as an example of positive and proactive networking, with the latter having a high number of LinkedIn connections. Of course, it would be simplistic to consider that lone factor as the sole cause for Obama's win, but maybe he has a point that most of us have been missing?
In order to really make 'Muslims Matter', it's high time we all used the powerful LinkedIn networking tool to establish a more in-your-face, official presence for Muslimmattters.org in the virtual global network of serious professionals.