While LinkedIn was founded in December of 2002, the actual website didn’t launch until May 5, 2003. That makes it older than Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), YouTube (2005), and even MySpace (August 2003). Step back for a moment and think about that. – Ben Parr, Mashable Social Media
Nine years ago a little website called LinkedIn appeared on the scene and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Up until this time we hadn’t seen a social networking site that we liked or that added value to business and business owners. We weren’t really using the term “social networking” or its cousins “social media” and “social platform.” While MySpace launched soon after in August 2003, it wasn’t designed for business.
LinkedIn was new and we were hesitant to use it. We didn’t know HOW to use LinkedIn. The site began as (and still is) an online resume and professional reference website. With the addition of Groups LinkedIn entered the social networking space with a professional twist. Professionals can now network online with others in their field and establish themselves as experts. They can refer contacts to each other just as you would at in-person networking events. The social “noise” of other social networking sites is non-existent on LinkedIn…or so you might think.
LinkedIn isn’t designed as a networking tool for every business person in every industry. Groups are clogged with ads, spam and the same “noise” of other social sites. People are people and no matter the social platform, there will be those who act unprofessionally. LinkedIn Groups provides access to those who stand on soapboxes without regard consequences.
The growth of Facebook and Twitter for business networking has once again pushed LinkedIn out of the social networking space for many professionals. It’s just more convenient to have business and professional contacts all in one place.
While LinkedIn may not be the best social space, it is a great professional space. Requesting and writing recommendations and having an online resume is immensely valuable. In fact, recruiters will often overlook prospective employees who don’t have a LinkedIn profile. Our recommendation is to handle with care.
It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn evolves into – or out of – the social networking space.