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 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
- 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?