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Call me crazy and maybe I have been focusing too much on Facebook Connect.  Frankly very few people ask, but I did get a question about OpenSocial today. I Googled "LinkedIn Open Social" and the first hit was October 31, 2007.  Hmmm, not the beehive of activity I was hoping for.  Most of the hits were the press announcements from .. ah.. October 31, 2007.

I finally found a link on the OpenSocial.org  .  It wasn't easy but I found a page on LinkedIn for API access.  I filled out the API request, and here was my response.

Thank you for your interest in partnering with LinkedIn.  We assess all inbound requests on an on-going basis and will get back to you as soon as possible if we find a good fit.  Due to the large number of inbound partnership requests we deal with on a daily basis it is difficult for us to personally respond to every inquiry. 
LinkedIn does not currently have a public program for the APIs. API access is offered to approved LinkedIn partners. We partner with companies who provide clearly compelling value to our users, generally giving priority to integrations that provide the most value to the greatest number of LinkedIn users. 
Nevertheless, we appreciate your continued support of LinkedIn.

So, how does one portray themselves as a compelling LinkedIn partner without being able to develop an integration?  There is no doubt that LinkedIn is a force in social media, but it took a long time to get here and in that time other social media home runs have waltzed in and claimed a big piece.  These might not be competitors.. or are they?

What about an enterprise that wants to write something for staff to use to access their LinkedIn data?

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube all have community aspects to their offering and all are exponentially easier to work with as a developer. Only Facebook even comes close to being a place for me to connect with collegues on (but thats still a big "Yikes") .  So wake up LinkedIn, time to embrace third party developers.

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So here's a gem which I hope will make you smile; I sure did.

Smiles aside though, there's good value in the message.

As fun as social media can be, it is also a place where careful moderation is best. 

Whether your prospects, clients, employers or friends and family are visiting you at Facebook, reading your tweets, connecting at LinkedIn, or reading your blog, you'll want to me sure who and what is coming in is as important as what you send out.

It reminds of the tried and true...we are only good as those we surround ourselves with.

Happy Friday
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There are some new capabilities in our Summer '08 Awareness Platform release that allow Awareness customers to expand the ways their communities touch their customers.  Our widgets, APIs, and integration with SharePoint and Facebook allow organizations to create multiple "points of participation."   Let me explain.

The typical view of an online community is one in which you visit a URL and "enter" the community through a front door.  After you enter, you can read or contribute content, comments, etc. This is all fine, but it doesn't have to stop there. 

Through the use of APIs, widgets, Facebook and SharePoint integration you can create additional ways that content can be gathered and shared.  For example, Awareness widgets can be placed on any HTML page with only two lines of code.  What kind of widget would you want to put on a page outside of your community's UI?  How about showing a list of "most recent posts," or "highest rated posts," or "most active contributors" on your main web site as a way to entice visitors to participate in your community?  Want to see an example of this?  Visit the main page of our website and on the right hand rail you'll see a list of such widgets, seamlessly appearing among "normal" HTML content on the page.   The widgets display content from the community (they could also gather content from users, too, but in this case they don't).The same thing can be done -- with greater control and customizability -- using the Awareness API

Awareness widgets can also be placed on widget-based environments, such as iGoogle.

There are other "points of participation" that can be created, too -- for example, a Facebook application that allows users to participate in a community directly from inside Facebook, or a set of SharePoint Web Parts that allow users to particpate in a community direclty from inside SharePoint.

All of these options are designed to let users interact with their communities from "where they live" -- on particular web pages, iGoogle, Facebook, SharePoint, etc.

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