Social media is a whole industry on it’s own these days. From the personal to the professional, there’s a networking platform for everything. The Best You chatted to Steven Burda who, with over 50,000 connections, is the most connected person on LinkedIn.
Becoming LinkedIn’s most connected member isn’t something that Steven Burda set out to achieve. “It just happened. I didn’t have any goals or set out to achieve anything,” he says of his sought-after social networking status.
But he doesn’t do it just so he feels personally validated – according to Burda, his status has had very positive results regarding his career. “From early on in my LinkedIn membership I started making connections. I would get advise from people who were already using the network and I really learnt the value of connections,” says Burda. “Getting to know people has also been a huge help. At some point everyone is a stranger, but eventually you get to know them and they can become your friend, associate, and eventually business partners. Getting connected on LinkedIn is wise for any business professional.”
For the uninitiated, let’s do a quick run down of what LinkedIn is. The concept was founded in 2002, but the platform was officially launched in 2003. It is to your career what Facebook is to your social life, allowing you to update your professional profile complete with past and present career experience and references from past colleagues. You can also connect and interact with colleagues past, present and future, as well as just making contact with people who have similar career interests. According to Burda, if you’re not linked in on LinkedIn, you really should be.
“It’s a great platform, wherever you are starting out,” he says. “If you are serious about it, you can really get a lot out of it. You can get in touch with all kinds of people and learn about a variety of different subjects. There are loads of informative articles, and depending on your field, it can be very good for recruitment. You can also use it to promote your business or product.
But there’s more to Steven Burda than being LinkedIn’s most connected member. Of course, simply being active on social media doesn’t pay the bills. In order to do this, Burda is a financial analyst: “I have a masters degree in finance and international business, so officially I am an financial analyst. But on the side I do social media consulting.”
In his profile, Burda says his reason for being on LinkedIn “is to reconnect with family members, classmates, group and social circle members, former and present colleagues.” When asked why he prefers LinkedIn for this as opposed to Facebook, his answer is a simple one: “I think LinkedIn is more professional,” he says. “I use Facebook to share pictures with friends and family. It’s more personal. LinkedIn is more appropriate for my professional requirements and becoming aware of job prospects.” He admits to being into all social media, but it’s LinkedIn that meets all his business requirements.
He may be the most connected person on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have standards when it comes to his potential connections. “I pride myself on having quality connections with people,” he says. “So while I accept almost anyone, their profile has to be complete and they have to have more than 20 connections.”
Being active on social media has many rewards, from reaching milestones in terms of connections, or making a connection with someone you have long admired. However, when asked what his proudest LinkedIn moment has been so far, Burda has a humbling answer: “I make an effort to help individuals, because when I was younger and needed help, people took the time to help me, so I’m big on paying it forward. So, to answer your question, every time I help someone is my proudest moment.”
LinkedIn and other career oriented social networking platforms are changing the way in which we do business and, according to Burda, that’s not a bad thing.
“People now share their ideas,” he says. “You can post articles on your profile on your group’s page. You can find answers to your ideas and supplement your profession. I don’t mean that you can use platforms like LinkedIn to sell your ideas, but you can get an input from a creative mind that could improve on your idea. People say that it is beneficial to have an extra set of eyes, well, networks like LinkedIn give you many sets of eyes.”