Tuesday, March 3, 2009

LinkedIn: Does it serve a purpose?

There's no doubt that social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are serving a need. Growing audiences suggest that.

But what about LinkedIn? Does it serve a purpose?

LinkedIn is a social networking site for business people. You enter information about yourself and create an "online resume." You invite people to be connected to you and ask some people (probably those who like you) to give you a recommendation. You can list books you may be reading and organizations you've joined.
But what happens then? I'm not sure that a recommendation on LinkedIn would be that valuable since the person being recommended has to approve it.

I guess if someone puts something stupid on their LinkedIn, it could prevent them from getting a job.
The down economy means a boom in the number of LinkedIn users.
Are you on LinkedIn? Has it benefited you?

1 comment:

  1. Les,

    Yes, I've been on LinkedIn for several years and the benefits are numerous.

    In one sense, LinkedIn is a community much like those provided by other social media. It fosters connections -- conversations, news, updates -- but in this case it is between and with people with whom we've worked. Colleagues, managers, and managees... those that matter to our professional careers who may have moved on; perhaps we have moved on.

    Two parts of LinkedIn are especially powerful: The "Questions" section and "Groups." We all need a little help occasionally and we all enjoy helping and supporting others. These two areas are very valuable and extensively used -- daily in most cases -- by the community for those purposes. To share our expertise and to gain from the expertise of others. Very powerful stuff.

    A third potent feature is the "Profile." It is like a living, on-line resume -- downloadable for recruiters (head hunters) or HR. LinkedIn provides a simple URL so that users can point interested parties to their profile. Mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/wwilliams, for example. Very simple, based on our name, and easy to remember.

    As a consultant who prefers to live at home outside Canyon, TX but who usually works elsewhere, LinkedIn is a boon. Keeping up and staying in touch professionally while having coffee on the deck overlooking Sunday Canyon is priceless.

    Personally, LinkedIn has brought job offers, answers to sticky questions, and many close connections with professionals. It is "networking" that works for those who work.

    Not all networks are "social," some are "business." Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and Ning are social networks. LinkedIn (and there are more) is a business network. Best advice: Keep the social and the business separate.

    Potential employers are turning to these networks to "check out" candidates for open positions... Social and business networks. Since almost anything we do on-line is public, posting "something stupid" on-line is not a good long-term plan.

    Bottom line: LinkedIn = Good for business / work. Do it.