LinkedIn came out with an interesting feature yesterday called “InMaps” that creates a data visualization based on your LinkedIn profile. What it tries to do is group your various contacts by correlating factors and then display them in a way that shows how you are connected. In my map above you can see that there are a large amount of people from Razorfish on the left as well as a group of people on the top that seem to be mostly recruiters and a few other subsets based on my current network of colleagues. It seems to do a good job at showing me two different takeaways.
First, the larger dots represent people with a lot of LinkedIn connections. I had thought that the larger dots would be mostly recruiters and headhunters but it turns out that it just seems to be the people that use LinkedIn a lot. Just as having lots of Facebook friends has little correlation to real-life friends, having lots of LinkedIn connections does not necessarily indicate an abundance of real-life colleagues.
The second interesting takeaway I see is that certain dots that seem to have an abundance of connections to people that I am already connected to. My brother Gavin, for example, has a lot of connections to other people that I know from the various startup events we have attended in the past. Eduardo Morales, my counterpart at a sister company of ours in Costa Rica seems to know a lot of people that I know as well, including most of the people that I am connected to at his company Prodigious.
While the data visualization above may seem like a bit of fancy nerd-fluff to the casual eye, I like seeing interesting ways of presenting data that tells us how to use it. Despite my complaints in the past, I think that LinkedIn has done a fantastic job at helping their users better understand the value of their online professional network.