Who thought there would be so much to say on LinkedIn Applications? (Truthfully, not me when I started to talk about them – I thought I’d do just one post!).  But there’s a lot of utility in these applications, particularly if you’re looking to make the most out of your LinkedIn experience. 

So today we’ll talk about a few more apps, starting with Huddle Workspaces.  

Huddle Workspaces

Huddle Workspaces is an application that allows you to create "workspaces" for different groups of connections, and you decide who sees what. Your documents are kept private and secure, and you can access them from anywhere at anytime. 

This is another situation where you can start with a free account, but Huddle.net also has an upgrade if you’re interested.  

 

Some of the highlights that Huddle mentions are: 

  • Each workspace is private to the connections that you’ve invited in.
  • You can access all your workspaces from within LinkedIn.
  • You can run multiple discussions in each workspace. 
  • Banish email threads and reply all from your projects. 
  • Leave comments and request approvals on files. 
  • Check-out/check-in means no more accidental overwrites.
  • Create, view, and edit files in the browser – there is no software required. 
  • Supports popular .doc and .xls file formats.

Now, I’ll add the caveat that I haven’t worked with this, and I haven’t spoken with any attorneys who are working with it, so I welcome all comments about this.  At the very least, it may be something you want to be familiar with if your clients are using it, because my assumption is that the information shared in here would be just as discoverable in a litigation case as email would be. 

Let’s take a look at how to install and use it though. To install, it’s exactly as the other applications have been – go to the application page and click "Add application." Once you do that, you’ll get this new screen: 

From here, you decide whether you’re ready to "Get started" which will allow you to start using Huddle, privately share files, hold discussions, get feedback and ask for approvals within LinkedIn.  Or you can "See more features" which will take you to Huddle.net to give you additional functionality – if you’re a new user, you’ll have to sign up, or you can sign in with your current account if you have one.  We won’t go into detail on that, since Huddle is a third party website, but let’s look at what happens if you stay within LinkedIn and click "Get started." 

Once you click "Get started," you’ll be invited to create your free Huddle.net account (if you have one already, there is a link at the top to connect it to your profile). 

Once you’ve entered your information and checked that you have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions, you can click "Create account." You’re then taken to your Workspaces, which look like this to start: 

You can see that there are a number of options here.  You can "Get more from Huddle" by clicking on the yellow bar at the top – this will take you to their site as we described above.

You can click on "All workspaces" if you’re in an individual workspace and you’d like the global view, "Global settings" to control the settings of your workspace, link to your existing Huddle.net account if you have one and haven’t done that already, once again "Get more" by going to the Huddle.net site, or look through Frequently Asked Questions. 

I’ll make a quick note about the Global settings – in here you can update your username and password, edit your workspaces, upgrade your account, or choose which of your Huddle activities you want shared with your social network.  The default for this is "Ask me," but if you’re concerned about security, you may want to change all of them to "No" for your own peace of mind. 

Now, back to the Huddle workspaces page.  In your workspace, you can edit the settings, invite your contacts to join, upload a file or create a file online or create a discussion. 

When you click "Edit settings," you’re taken to a series of tabs which reference all of the above options.  For settings, you can change the title of the workspace, a description of it, and users: 

Depending on what you’re using the space for, you’ll want a descriptive title and description.  

Let’s navigate to the other options using the tabs at the top.  We’ll start with "Invite Contacts." 

Currently, I have no contacts listed.  So I’ll click on "Invite contacts" in order to add some people to this workspace. Here’s a neat tip – as you browse through Huddle, you’ll notice that there are some documents being added – these are how to’s from Huddle that will help you navigate through using this application. 

Also to note, you can only have one workspace as a Huddle basic user – in order to have more than one, you are required to upgrade.  That’s a bit of a drawback in my book!

When you click "Invite contacts," the tab will open up with a search box for you to look for contacts in your LinkedIn network: 

 

As you start typing, the search box will suggest contacts for you based on the letters you’re typing – similarly to when you’re searching for people.  So for example, Alan Griffiths came up, and I clicked on the name, so now it says "You have selected the following users to receive an invite." 

At the bottom, there is a button that says "Invite contacts" – click this and the people that you want to invite to this workspace will be included. 

Let’s move on to the "Discussions" tab: 

Click this to go to the discussions tab.  Once you’re there, you’ll see a description of what you can do there, as well as the ability to start a new discussion. 

To start a new discussion, you’d click the button "New Discussion." This opens up a new screen that allows you to add a discussion title and the body of the post and it defaults to notifying other people in this workspace of the change – you can uncheck this if you don’t want them notified. 

Once you’ve included the information you want to, and decided whether to notify the other members of the workspace, click "Create Discussion" to post it. This saves your discussion and takes you back to the main discussions tab: 

As you can see, from here, you can start another new discussion if you’d like, click on the title of the discussion to be taken to the full post, or mouseover the "take action" link to "View discussion," "Reply," or "Delete discussion."

The next tab we’ll check out is "Files." 

Click on this to be taken to the files tab. 

Once here, your options are similar to that for Discussions, with on addition.  Also, as I mentioned before, there is a file uploaded here already that details for you how to share, edit and discuss documents and files.  Since Huddle does this for you, I won’t get into it. 

I will say that your options are to upload a file or to create a file online.

If you have an existing file that you’d like to share with others, click "Upload File." This will open a new screen where you can add a title and description, as well as choose the file to upload.  You can also assign people within the workspace to approve the file by checking the box next to that instruction, as well as notifying everyone in the workspace of your upload.  You’ll see that Huddle lets you know that you have a limit of 10MB in size to upload.  

Once you’ve given your file a title and description, located it using the "Choose File" button and decided whether others need to approve it or be notified, you can click "Upload File" to add it to your list.

You’re then re-directed back to your list of documents. As you can see, I uploaded a document which is listed at the top.  You can see the file size and when it was last modified here – my assumption is that the "Status" information involves whether you’ve required others to approve the document first.

Again, you can view the document by clicking on the title, or you can mouseover "file options" to see the menu which allows you to "edit/view file information," "download the file" "download and lock file for editing," or "delete file." 

As I mentioned, there is also the option to create a file online.  This option exists to allow you to create word documents and excel spreadsheets using Huddle’s online tools.  When you click the button, you are taken to a new screen that first asks you to come up with a title and description, as well as choose whether you want to create a Word or Excel document.  

As you’ll see, there is a warning that your browser settings may attempt to block the opening of the file editor.  Let’s assume that it all works correctly, and we’ll add the title, description, and choose "Word document" before clicking "Create file." 

The file editor will then open in a new window, allowing you to edit the file as if you were typing it within Word. Again, since this is a third party application, we won’t get into detail on that. I will mention that I’m unsure as to whether auto-save would be present in this online editor – when you are using Word on your computer, it will auto-save based on your settings, so that if your computer were to crash or Word were to crash, your latest changes would be automatically saved (usually, this isn’t foolproof).  However, it’s possible that this isn’t the case for the online editor, so my recommendation would be to always work locally (this means on your computer, not on the internet), so that your documents are saved.  Also, this means that the file would be available to you on your computer in case LinkedIn’s site went down for the day and you absolutely needed your documents. 

Once you’ve saved your document that you’ve created using their online editor, you can again view it by clicking on the file name, or you can mouseover "file options" to "edit/view file information," "edit file online," "download file," "upload new version," "unlock file" or "delete file."

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities for working within Huddle Workspaces. Since I haven’t used it to any great degree, I’d love to hear from anyone who has used it, and whether you recommend or don’t recommend it.  

Projects & Teamspaces

Next, we’ll talk about Projects & Teamspaces. This is another application that I don’t have any great familiarity with, but we’ll learn about it together! 
 
Projects and Teamspaces is another third party application, put out by Manymoon.  This is similar to Huddle workspaces in that you get free unlimited workspaces, tasks, documents and connections (though Huddle does limit your workspaces unless you get a pro account).  
 
To add the application, we’ll again go to the Get more applications link from the home page, and click on Projects and Teamspaces.  Then, click "Add application" to include it.
 
This takes you to Projects and Teampaces application page: 
 
The interface is pretty straightforward – on the lefthand side, you’ll see that they first invite you to link up your Manymoon account if you already have one.  Then, they list the benefits of using this application, which includes having full control of your data, being used by many thousands of businesses, having free unlimited projects and tasks, and working within your LinkedIn network.
 
Then, you can create your own project with a two step process – we’ll get to that in a moment.  If you’re not sure what kind of project to create, they give you some suggestions below. 
 
We’ll create our own project by choosing a title and clicking "Create Project." If the application likes your title, it will take you to the next page, where you’re asked to invite connections from your LinkedIn network to work with: 
 
 
It will be a full list of people in your network, with checkboxes next to each name. You can select who you want to work with by checking the box, and their name will appear in the "Selected Connections" box. Then click "invite to project" to add them to your project. 
 
You’ll also see that at the top is a search box, so if you already know who you want to add, and you don’t want to browse through all of your connections, you can start to type their name and add them as they come up. 
 
At this point, you’re taken to your main project page: 
 
Once again, they give you a LOT of options.  Let’s look at this project to start with.  I’ve called it 2012 Annual Meeting – Washington, DC, as if I were working on that conference within LinkedIn.  You’ll see in the blue box at the top that I can edit, add a member, or delete this project.  
 
When you click edit, a new window pops up that allows you to change the name if you would like, add a target date for completion, and a description of the project.   Click save to save any changes that you’ve made. 
 
You’ll notice that the "Project Activity" news stream is then updated with your changes.  This is an easy way to see what others have worked on within the project if you are overseeing it. 
 
We’ve already added a member and deleting the project is self-explanatory, so we’l move on to the next part. Below the blue box is a space to assign tasks to people within the project, including yourself. 
 
First, I typed in the name of the task I’m assigning, which is to find and secure a local events planner.  I start to type the name of the person I want to assign it to (me) and then click on it when it comes up.  Then, I can add a date that I want this done by.  I also have the option to check "Send message" so that the person is alerted that I have a task I want them to complete.  
 
At this point, I can either "Assign Task" or click Show options – you can see in the image above that I’d already clicked that. This allows me to further customize the task.  I’ll assign it a high priority, I can check whether or not it will be a recurring task, I can make a comment about it and even attach a  local document, a Google doc, or a link if I would like to. 
 
Once I’ve got the option set the way I would like, I click "Assign Task" to assign the task.
 
Again, this pops up in the news feed for the project, and you’ll note that you can even comment on the items in the news feed: 
 
 
 
From here, you can assign additional tasks, or take a look at the tabs at the top – Overview, Tasks, Documents, Learn More and Invite.
 
Since we only have one project, the overview page looks mostly similar to the projects page at this point.  So we’ll move on to tasks. 
 
From here, you can still assign tasks or create a project, but you’ll also see the list of tasks that have been assigned to you.  It will give you the pertinent information, including what the task is, when it’s due, the priority, whether it’s completed or not, and who created it.  You are also permitted to drag and drop the tasks in the order that you would like to view them – very handy.
 
You’ll notice that it defaults to "Me" – the blue box.  You can also click on "Others," which will show you the list of tasks that others in the project are responsible for.
 
Additionally, there are filtering capabilities on the lefthand side. You can filter your tasks by those that are open (this is the default), those that are completed, by priority (high, normal, low), overdue, due today, tomorrow, this week, or this month, or group them by project or who assigned them.  This is a very helpful feature. 
 
If you’ve been the one assigned a task, when you’ve completed it, just check the box next to the task and it will automatically be moved into "completed."
 
Since we’ve seen the projects tab already, we’ll now move to documents: 
 
 
Here again you have the ability to assign a task or create a project.  But you also have a list of all the documents that have been uploaded – none at this point.  You’ll note that you can filter these by who has added them – all documents, those added by you, and those added by others.  There is also the option to make documents visible or hidden, and you can filter by those criteria as well. 
 
Since we don’t have any documents yet, let’s upload one. We’ll click on the link (where it says Click here) to do so. The only way that you can upload a document is to attach it to a task, so we’ll have to create a new task to do this and upload the document through the "Show options" section as we talked about earlier.
 
Once you’ve added the new task with the document, it will appear in your documents list – there seems to be some technical difficulties with this today, so I’m unable to put in a screen capture. You’ll just have to test it out for yourselves! 
 
 
Next, we’ll take a look at the Learn More tab, which offers you a short video on what you can do with Manymoon and tells you what upgrading would get you.  The invite tab lets you invite contacts to work with you on Projects and Teamspaces, just as we did earlier on the individual project.
 
And at the top of every page is the option to link your existing Manymoon account with this one if you already have on. 
 
Having just taken a quick look around both this and Huddle Workspaces, I’d have to say that the interface for Projects and Teamspaces is much friendlier and seems to be very project oriented.  The main difference that I’m seeing right now is in terms of documents – with Manymoon’s application, documents can only be uploaded as part of a task, and it takes a long time for them to be uploaded.  Huddle Workspaces on the other hand allows you to upload them separately, so for lawyers, this might be a deal breaker on Projects and Teamspaces. 
 
Reading List by Amazon
 
The final application I’m going to talk about today (don’t worry, there are still more to come!) is Reading List by Amazon.  I’m sure you’ll think I’m crazy for even mentioning this as a business-related application, but actually there’s a LOT of engagement value here.
 
Now, some people have said that they’re not going to share the names of the books that they’ve read for pleasure for fear of alienating their connections.  If you’re reading the biographies or political ramblings of only one side of the fence, or very religious books, I’d agree that it might be best not to include those.
 
But when you’re reading some fiction or nonfiction you’ve genuinely enjoyed, or a business book that you’d highly recommend, having a reading list to share that on is an excellent idea. I’ll get into the details in a moment, but Amazon reading lists allow you to share what you’re reading, what you want to read, and what you’ve read, and whether you’d recommend it – you can even go into a detailed recommendation.  Your connections can either follow your list, or just see your updates in their news stream.
 
And this is an invitation to engage with you – perhaps you read and loved a book that they’ve read and loved. They’ll reach out to you with a comment.  Perhaps you’re in the middle of a book that they’ve read and they’ll reach out to find out what you think of it.  And vice versa.  Since LinkedIn is such a professional network, I feel this is a way to share a more personal side of yourself in a way that is still professional.  
 
For example, I love Clive Cussler books, as well as mysteries with plucky heroines (I used to picture myself as Nancy Drew when I was a child).  I share this with my network and can connect with them over it – knowing that someone shares an interest in the same books I do endears them to me.  So while you might think having your list of books is a bit silly, it’s actually an ice breaker and another means of connecting.
 
That being said, Reading List by Amazon is one of two book list applications on Linkedin.  To add it, we’ll again go to the Get More Applications page, and click on the link for Reading List. I’ll click the Add Application button to add the application to my page, and I’m ready to get started! 
 
You can see at the top there are four tabs – your reading list, network updates, industry updates, and all recent updates.
 
Since we’re just getting started, we have no books on our reading list.  To add a book, we can search in the search box by author or title and click "Search books."
 
Right now, I’m reading Cleo Coyle’s latest book on my iPad.  So I search her name and the results pop up below: 
 
A list of her books come up, and although I see the one I’m reading on this page, you can see there are two arrows just to the right of the list of books.  So if you can’t find your book right away, you can click on the arrows until you find it.
 
I’m reading "Murder by Mocha," so I click "Select."  
 
 
 
You can see that we have three options at the top: 
  • I want to read it
  • I’m reading it now
  • I read it

Since I’m reading it now, I’ll click the button for that.  Then, I can add a description up to 5,000 characters for why I’m reading it, or what I think about it.  If I’m reading the book on a Kindle, I can check that checkbox.  And once I’m ready, I can click Save.

 

You can continue to add other books here, or move on to other activities.  Since my existing profile is much more developed, we’ll head over there to see how it looks when it’s more developed. 

You can see that I’ve been adding books I’ve read over time, and have 71 books on my list, with 63 of them being read.  I’ve recommended 54 of them.  On the right hand side, there’s a box that says "Who’s Watching Who?" – this application allows you to "watch" other people’s reading lists, and vice versa.  You may want to do this if you find you have similar tastes to someone else – you may discover a book you wouldn’t have found otherwise!

Here, you can see I’m watching five of my contacts’ lists, and seven of them are watching my list. We’ll talk more in a moment about how you can do that.

At the top, there is the list of tabs we mentioned earlier.  We’ll start with "Network Updates," which is going to give you a list of the latest books that people in your LinkedIn network have added to their reading lists: 

 

Similarly, you can search for books that are being added by people within your industry – perhaps you’ll find some new connections because you share a passion for the same books! 

It’s another great way to network, and a way to break the ice with someone you might not know personally, or very well. 

And finally, you can also see any recent updates by the entire universe of LinkedIn users: 

Again, it’s an opportunity to network with people you might not get to know otherwise.

You’ll see that when you click on these tabs, next to the person’s name in the list is a button that says "Watch Name’s List."  When you click on this button, you’re adding that person’s reading list to the ones that you want to watch.  

The question now is how do you find out what they’re reading? First, click back to the "Your Reading List" tab, which has the "Who’s Watching Who?" list.  You can click on anyone’s name in that list to see their latest updates for what they’ve been reading.

You may find some good ideas here, or a reason to reach out to them.  Additionally, on their page, you’ll see whose lists they’re watching – that might give you another list to watch (since you likely share similar tastes) and perhaps someone else to connect to. It’s a pretty easy, social thing to do!

What’s nice also is that there is a search button at the top of every list, so if you do see a book you’re interested in, you can either click on the name of it, or type it into the search box, and add it to the list of books you’re interested in.  That will keep it in your list of books for you to refer back to later. 

***

Tomorrow, we’ll be back again with some more applications! What’s been your favorite LinkedIn application to use?