I’ve refused invitations for Linked In since I first started to get them from early adopter friends several years ago. I felt funny about putting my personal information online and public.

But I reconsidered after learning that a graduate of my bschool program had gotten well over 600 of the 3000 graduates of the program to join a Linked In alumni network. A group of women alumni and I have been talking about how we might create stronger connections in the community of female grads, and I thought, let me check this out.

Classmates, friends and even professors are out there. I’m watching many colleagues jump on as an impending merger promises to move us into different companies.

And I just got the first invitation from a member of my yoga community.

I’ve been talking to people about how they use it, and (over)thinking about when, why and how to use it…right before I sat down to make a post, thought I’d check a few favorite blogs.

Talk about the collective unconscious, Valeria Maltoni and her readers on Conversation Agent have posted a good dialogue on exactly this topic.

How might Linked In be used, and useful, for small business? My first guess is that service providers might use it very effectively to brand themselves.

If I own a widget factory, I’d personally prefer an accountant and attorney who have already served similar businesses.

I don’t have to train them to understand my business. In fact, they might train me. For example, the accountant might look at my P&L and tell me that I’m over or underspending in an area, compared to the average widget factory. This adds value to my business.

So if I’m connected with others in the widget business, and see their accountant in their Linked In contacts, there’s the ticket.

That said, I could also pick up the phone and call another widget factory owner and ask him how he likes his accountant.

I’m still figuring it out.