LinkedIn first launched in May 2003, and I created my profile in March 2005. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as an early adopter, but I was there in the early days. Initially, I used LinkedIn as a contact list. It was a better system than my email address book because I could keep notes about the contact. If they kept their profile updated, I could maintain communication with them when they changed jobs. It’s been a few full moons since those days and LinkedIn is now one of the most visited sites on the internet (source: Similarweb). I participate on LinkedIn in other ways today, but also find myself having to navigate through some of the noise it creates in my life.
I love that LinkedIn keeps track of my network of contacts and that it shows degrees of separation between myself and others. I’ve used it for introductions and referrals. I like reading about celebrations of achievement, new jobs, and promotions. I’ve used the training library and occasionally read industry news. I use LinkedIn as a place to cross-post content for my blog. Overall, it’s become a good platform in my life for both intake and output of business-related content.
I’ve unsuccessfully used LinkedIn for membership to affinity and professional groups. I expected to find meaningful dialogue in the groups with discussions about current and trending topics. But my experience is the groups tend to be places for promotion and badges. I haven’t found a group with a meaningful discussion board. I’ll keep looking.
There’s also some noise. Daily, I process cold-call sales pitches and requests from people in business development that don’t know me. I get it, LinkedIn is a rich resource of company contacts and is a primary vehicle for prospect lists and finding new customers. But it’s about 90% of my inbox feed on any given week. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t respond to requests in this category.
I also recognize the public nature of LinkedIn data is a source of input for malicious actors conducting phishing and smishing campaigns. You can piece together a decent org chart of a company using LinkedIn and titles. This is key material for bad guys when they are social engineering attacks. Ugh.
What about you? How do you use LinkedIn? What’s your favorite and least favorite feature? When did you register your account?
Onward and upward!
Photo Credit: Jurgen Appelo via Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/cNL2KS