Linkedin LIONs no longer Roar

It’s about 10 years since I first joined LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals. Over the years it’s grown in leaps and bounds to over 350 million users. Not surprisingly LinkedIn it is not blocked in mainland China, and has a solid integration with the mobile messing app, Wechat.

LinkedIn LessonsAs one of the websites I use on a daily basis, I’ve finally had enough of increasing spam. I have only 24 hours per day to do what we need to do and reading yet another Inbox filled with clutter is not high on my values. So because of “Information Overload” it’s imperative that I cull my social media usage often.

You won’t be missing anything earth shattering if you do the same.

Back in 2006 I read an ebook on the benefits of open networking in LinkedIn. It is based on the work of Mark Granovetter, a social scientist, and his Theory of Weak Social Ties. This theory made a big impression on me, and I decided to put it onto practice in my every day life. This lead to a rapid expansion of my online connections.

My own approach led to competition with my good friend Brian Carl Brown. For several years we competed to see who had the most LinkedIn connections in South Africa. In 2015 it turns out this has become a meaningless measure.

LinkedIn, the company, is listed on the stock market. Therefore its doing everything possible to increase users and usage as one important metric for a public tech company. It automatically pulls in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and other online contact lists. It’s constantly suggesting “people you may know” and in most cases, you can connect without their email address.

This brings me to LinkedIn LIONS. A life time ago this was the best way to quickly expand your network reach. One of the attributes of LinkedIn is that you can only see people who are 3rd level connections. So you can never search the entire database of users and you can never by found by everyone on the website, not within 3 levels. Your reach grows exponentially as you grow your first level, direct connections.

Today I removed myself from the TopLinkedIn group. LinkedIn LIONS promise to accept all invitation – this is open networking. However, this is one of the biggest sources of unsolicited requests that just fill up my Inbox. For the last 3 years I have been unable to keep up with the number of connection requests from LinkedIn.

So as it continued to grow, the value of my LinkedIn network has negatively impacted my experience. The more people I am connected with, the more spam I received.

Recently I deleted several hundred people without photos, without profile headlines. Most of us have too many online connections and profiles. A clean slate is not always possible, so the next best thing is prune your profiles regularly.

If you’re no longer connected to me, it’s probably because we’ve never met, or never had a telephone conversation. In case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night.


Worm attacks Facebook, MySpace users running Microsoft Windows

Facebook Worm ScreenshotGareth Roberts, a new member of the team here at NETucation,  alerted me to a new computer worm that attacks Facebook and MySpace users. One very important piece of information left out of most of the news reports on News24 or MyADSL is that ONLY on users running Microsoft Windows are prone to this attract. Facebook users receives links to download the worm via Inbox messages from infected users while links are posted in MySpace commentaries when infected MySpace users log into their account. Current variant of the worm is faked as a codec installer named as codecsetup.exe. When the worm is ran, a dialog box will pop up with the message “Error installing Codec. Please contact support“.

These days I use an Apple Macbook Pro (thanks!) running the Mac OS X operating system that is substantially more secure than MS Windows. The most important thing to remember with your computer security is to avoid clicking on anything unfamiliar or that you do not understand. Delete suspicious emails on sight and ask your ISP to enable spam filtering before those emails even get to your computer or laptop. In 99% of the cases you won’t miss a thing…

Yes, this may sound like a paranoid approach to conducting your on. However, all computer viruses or worms have spread exactly because Internet users have been gullible. The explosion in use of social networking websites was always going to create new outlets for th creators of computer viruses or worms. Facebook has over 90 million active users and MySpace has over 240 million profiles and most of these people are brand new to the Internet. When something is a novelty you are bound to click on almost anything. What has impressed me the most about the social networking phenomenon is how quickly users are adapting and learning from group behaviour.

According to McAfee this is a low risk virus so you should not panic. However, its important to look at this screenshot and this other one, so you know what to avoid. If you are sick and tired of the vicious upgrade and update cycle on Microsoft Windows why not try Ubuntu Linux.


The beginning of MXit spam and chain letters

Cellphone spam on the increaseI have been getting more and more of these types of messages sent by my friends on MXit. Maybe they do not realise its spam or chain letters. The same types of chain letters that are sent around the global a gazillion times a day by innocent, unsuspecting people who believe they are doing a good thing. Simply put these messages are a hoax in 99.999% of the cases. Even if that little girl or little boy really looks like they lost a limb or have some incurable disease. There’s very little you can do in the form of attaching your name to a list on an email.

Anyway I’m reposting a common message being circulated on MXit here:

Microsoft has introduced a new mxit mail tracking system in an effort to ensure mxit remains the most popular chat room on the market. This message is a beta test of the new software and microsoft has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process. For each person you send this message to, you will be given R5. For every person they give it to, you will get R3. For every person they send it to you will receive R1. Microsoft will tally all the messages produced under your name over a 2 week period and then message you with more instructions. I know you hate forwarded messages, and i was skeptical myself until last week when i got a real check in the mail for R821. Seriously , it really works. I wanted you to get a piece of the action. You wont regret it.