What This Ad Creative Learned From Emailing All 1,109 of His LinkedIn Contacts

John Kovacevich's yearlong project pays off

Do you find professional value in LinkedIn beyond the occasional glance at someone else's work history? Or is mostly a wasteland of connections made, then forgotten.

A year ago, San Francisco-based creative director/copywriter John Kovacevich decided to check in with his LinkedIn contacts—in a serious way. As a New Year's resolution for 2015, he vowed to email all 1,109 of his contacts personally over the course of the year.

Kovacevich is a big fan and user of Facebook, and figured there would be value in trying to get the same stream of conversation flowing with his professional contacts, not just his personal ones. (Kovacevich also describes himself as a LinkedIn "purist," having connected only with people he actually worked with over the years.)

John Kovacevich

 He was also inspired in an interesting way by George H.W. Bush (read the post to find out how). And, yes, there was an element of self-promotion involved.

"While I hadn't completely decided to leave my old job, I suspected that I'd be making a change in 2015 and was toying with the idea of going out on my own," he writes. "I thought that the project might be a good way to reconnect. Not in a sales-y sort of way but in a lets-see-what-other-people-are up-to-and-maybe-there-will-be-a-chance-to-work-with-old-friends-again sort of way."

He set a schedule and (spoiler alert) did manage to email everyone between Jan. 1 and Dec. 15. And he says he learned four lessons from the experience. Here's the first lesson:

1. People, not "Connections"

When I started, I was sort of hung up on the math of the whole thing. Could I get through all 1,109? Have I done my five for today? What percentage of the year has passed and does that match the percentage of the list I've completed?

But when you get down to writing a letter to someone, it's not about any of that stuff. It's not about "the project" but about connecting with another human being. Reflecting on our connection. Checking in to see where they are in their life. Sharing a little bit of an update about myself and asking questions.

And the responses that I did get were really touching. Many, many people wrote long, thoughtful replies, full of personal stories about their career and family and their current passion. It was interesting and inspiring and some of the stories were sad and some were hopeful and you realize we are all just people making our way through life and doing the best that we can.

Check out his full post for the other lessons:

I wrote to all 1,109 of my LinkedIn contacts last year. Here's what I learned.

Top illustration: cartoon_of_milk on fiverr

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