I was excited to be given the new LinkedIn Contacts functionality at the end of last week.  I talked about this in my last post on LinkedIn Changes.  You can sign up for the functionality at https://contacts.linkedin.com./ I love the new functionality – though I can see room for improvement – which no doubt will happen as LinkedIn gets feedback.

When you sign up for the module, you can link to your email system – though it will work without this.  I am using Google apps for my email (with an Outlook front end), so it was a simple case of linking through Gmail.  This brought into LinkedIn any notes that I made against a contact in my email system and imported the latest email messages I have exchanged with a contact.

Now when I click on a contact, I can see an additional box.  LinkedIn Contact

For each contact I can add notes or information about how we met. I can see the lastest emails that we have exchanged.  I can group my contacts by using the Tag feature.  I can also schedule a reminder to contact this person again in a day, a week or a month – or regularly.

CIicking on Contacts > Connections from the Main Menu,allows me to click on Today on the left hand side.

Start your day

This shows me which of my contacts have a new position or a birthday today and allows me to send them a message directly from within LinkedIn.  A default message does come up but you can personalise it as you wish.  Just be careful, at the moment, if you send a message, the box doesn’t go away so you could accidentally send the message twice!  The message isn’t yet displayed as part of the information about the contact either which is also an error in my opinion.

Clicking on the calendar button on the right, will show me my calendar from my email system.  Remember my email and calendar is part of Google apps so actually this is showing me my calendar from Google.

Looking at the list of contacts directly below ‘Today’, I can sort my contacts by recent conversation, newly added, alphabetical, location or interestingly ‘lost contact’.  LinkedIn gives you a list of when it thinks you last contacted certain people.  A great way of deciding whether to send a message to get back in touch or to remove from your connections list.

Just a note – you can no longer send a message to a group of contacts – probably because too many people were using this for blanket spamming.

The functionality will be available in mobile devices too – though at the moment it is not available in the UK app stores.

I do have concerns about security and the lack of backup of the notes and so will be careful what I store within LinkedIn, but in general, I can see that I will make use of this new functionality to form better relationships with my LinkedIn contacts – and of course that is what LinkedIn is all about.

Have you got this new functionality yet?  What do you think?