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New book on using LinkedIn, 'The Power in a Link,' also tells you how to stalk journalists like me

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 23, 2011 11:44 AM

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I'm not sure if I should post about the new book from Cambridge entrepreneur Dave Gowel, a former Army Ranger who now runs the software start-up RockTech.

Just out from John Wiley & Sons, "The Power in a Link" is a 159-page guide to "changing the way you do business using LinkedIn." It covers topics like how to set up a profile that represents you well; the best way to collect recommendations from people with whom you've worked; how to conduct advanced searches if you're hunting for new employees or key business development contacts; and how to think about your status updates on the widely-used social network.

But it also offers three-and-a-half pages on how Gowel stalked me — albeit politely — to tell me about the LinkedIn training services he was offering in 2009, and get me to write a column that featured him. After Gowel started following me on Twitter, reading my blog, and scoping out our mutual LinkedIn contacts, he went to a breakfast panel I'd helped to organize. He writes:

...I arrived at the event early, thinking that if Scott was hosting, he'd be there early as well, and he was. I struck up a conversation in the least harassing way possible by talking about things he'd written, making sure to insert our mutual connections into the brief conversation: "I noticed via LinkedIn that you know Tim Rowe and Jeff Bussgang; how do you know them?"

Truthfully, it's not bad advice for connecting with any journalist: we remember face-to-face meetings much better than e-mails or phone calls, and it sure doesn't hurt to have read some of our recent writing so you know what we cover. (As opposed to asking, "What kind of stories do you write?")

Here's a 2009 column I wrote after meeting Gowel, "Make better introductions." It offers ten pieces of advice for using LinkedIn effectively.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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