I'd like to add you to my professional network

Last Monday you may have noticed that we took the day off at Fierce, part of our longstanding tradition of sharing holidays with Wall Street. It's about all I share with Wall Street, but I'll take it.

So with some time on my hands I decided to do something I'd always planned: Go ahead and finally get my LinkedIn page up and running. I'd made a somewhat less than half-hearted stab at it a couple of years ago. But there was no bio of any sort, no photo and only two personal connections who had bothered to link up.

I still wonder how they ever found me.

Being something of an all-or-nothing sort of person, once I'd set that up I sent out an e-mail to about 500 people in the industry I'd been in contact with over the years. It's not hard to do. And inside of 30 minutes I had something like 150 new connections--everyone from CEOs to assistant communications chiefs.

So I got hooked. Over the past 9 years, I've written well over 2 million words on biotechnology, covering the work of many, many people in the global industry. One hundred and fifty seemed, well, suddenly inadequate to me. So I accessed a different database of contacts and did it again. And the virtual hall began to fill as the links flowed back.

Cutting to the chase, I set out to join the 500+ club inside of 24 hours. It actually took me 28 hours, but then I did sleep and work and occasionally chat with my family. Some things are inescapable.

The experience reinforced something I've felt for some time now. In an interconnected world, social media outfits like LinkedIn and Twitter--3,726 followers and counting--are fundamentally changing the way business media outlets like FierceBiotech gather and disseminate information. We tap into the social media grapevine, gathering tips and links, and share the news we find and the views we form along the way.

It's basic cybernetics: Create a system, feed information into it and watch it change and adapt to the data. It fascinates me. And it's all online.

The point here is that I'm still building my system, or at least the foundation for one. So come over to LinkedIn and look me up. The better connected I am, the better job I do. Global biotech is a community and social media is the town hall on my beat. Drop by and see me. – John Carroll (LinkedIn | Twitter | email)

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