It's funny how social networks seem to go in to patterns of innovation and do really cool things all at once and I have to say that title goes to Linkedin at the moment who just keep on rolling out great stuff. They've just launched this really innovative tool in their Linkedin Labs section called inMaps that lets you vizualize your connections online in the form of a map which you can customize. The beauty of this is that it helps map out your connections and show how people within your network know each other which is not always apparent by looking at a list of names. There is some serious technology behind this and I'll let this chap explain it because he will do a far better job than me...
This is a classic example of data being brought to life visually and it helps you better understand who you are connected to and why you know people. As Linkedin say themselves...
If you're a LinkedIn user, you already know the power of your professional network.
What if you could visualize what your network looks like? Would your connections form clusters or groups? Wouldn't it be great if you could see the way all your connections are related to each other? Even be able to identify the elusive hubs between your professional worlds?
Now, you can! This week, we're introducing a new LinkedIn Labs product, called InMaps. More after the jump.
InMaps is an interactive visual representation of your professional universe that answers all of the above questions. It's a great way to understand the relationships between you and your entire set of LinkedIn connections. With it you can better leverage your professional network to help pass along job opportunities, seek professional advice, gather insights, and more.
Here's how it works: your map is color-coded to represent different affiliations or groups from your professional career, such as your previous employer, college classmates, or industries you've worked in. In my InMap, my LinkedIn colleagues are blue, while my former colleagues at Yahoo Analytics are pink and other at Yahoo are green and my Carnegie Mellon classmates are orange and tangerine.
The good news is that anybody who has more than 75 connections can go and get started with their own map now by clicking here. It's still only a lab feature but this looks very useful and shows that Linkedin are back to innovating and creating cool stuff again which I'm happy about because they needed to. What do you think about this? useful?