LinkedIn: Old-School Social Network Isn't Short of Fans


Many of us web workers participate in more than one social network, and it’s well-known that beyond the simple social connections you can make, social networks can also be career safety nets. This was the subject of a New York Times piece from yesterday. In it, a Jupiter Research analyst asserts that LinkedIn, “though it lacks the glamour of more popular sites like MySpace and Facebook, is the place to be.” The article offers up a few interesting statistics.

“LinkedIn has more than 25 million members, and it is adding new ones at the rate of 1.2 million a month — or about one new networker every two seconds,” the article reports. It also reports that the average user of LinkedIn is a 41-year-old white-collar professional with an income of $109,000 a year. Is LinkedIn where the grownups are on social networks?

The New York Times piece cites several examples of people who have had great success in wing-walking from one job to the next using LinkedIn. In one example, a 32-year old employee found out his division was going to be eliminated in 45 days. Reportedly, within hours of updating his profile on LinkedIn, the employee got four job interviews resulting in two offers.

There are also some interesting observations from the folks at LinkedIn. They advise not to be too promiscuous in expanding a LinkedIn network, because “too many people can weaken your network.” There is also the advice to keep listed recommendations from people you have previously worked with up-to-date. And, there is the advice to promptly give recommendations to people who ask you for them.

LinkedIn gets talked about much less than the other social networks these days, but it is one of the oldest networks. What have your experiences been with it? Is LinkedIn still vital?


Alana Post

To placate Chris, let me begin by saying that I have no affiliation with LinkedIn aside from simply being a user with a relatively small network.

That said, I think it’s the best professional-grade OSN/online social network out there. It discourages frivolous connections, which increases the value of one’s network exponentially. Although its focus is more serious (mature?) than other sites, it’s still great to spy on former coworkers and periodically track how many hops you are from your “dream job”.

I also use it as my resume (web and print), which isn’t really best-practice but still saves time that would otherwise be spent maintaining a NeoOffice file somewhere locally in addition to a webpage remotely.

Lastly, I really like LinkedIn’s design. It’s beautiful, standards-based, and incorporates a ton of microformats (which every other relatively popular OSN ignores).


Can’t really help getting punk’d by bogus comments in this open net, Chris and like with all contrived things, it really is a pest.

But I also am patient enough to see thru the clutter and find real gems within the network. 1 in 20 or 50 (don’t even have that network number) is all worth it.



If you didn’t compare it to something people know, they would have a hard time getting an idea of what LinkedIn is about.

Chris Bootdale

Forget rolodex… LinkedIn is nothing more than with a social networking twist. When you’re not looking for a job, where’s the value?

Let me guess. There will be 5 positive LinkedIn comments to follow this one. Check out any article ever written about LinkedIn. It’s common practice at LinkedIn HQ to have employees sit around and post bogus comments to refute anything negative being said about the company.

Don’t believe the hype.

Avonelle Lovhaug

I like LinkedIn, but I think it shines best when documenting existing connections and helping me to reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with. Also, it has had some performance and stability issues lately…I hope they continue to improve in that area.

John Carson


How do you see it not being interactive?

I can see who is linked to my immediate connections and ask for a referral, based on trust. After (hopefully) providing a good service or business to that former stranger, they can then provide a testimonial for my work for others to see.

I feel that I’m interacting with people on there all the time. Throw in the questions and answers section, and the job search facilities (with the option to apply through LinkedIn) and it becomes very easy to find a potential employer or contract.



I agree with another comment about LinkedIn being a glorified Rolodex. It does have a purpose, but it is not very interactive. This article references somebody who had multiple job offers in hours, but that person was probably the 41 year old who makes $109,000 a year. They have tons of experience and have no worries in finding a job. What about the people who are 25, 27, 32? Are they going to have job offers in hours? Not likely.

I think that is a limitation of LinkedIn and its format.


Dan McComb

Biznik differs sharply from LinkedIn in two ways: one, it’s designed to connect small business owners, not employees. And two, Biznik’s real focus is on bringing members together face-to-face, not just online, at member-hosted events. That’s why it works so well in Seattle, where it started, because members are hosting like 70 events a month there now and that adds up to a lot of business getting passed around.


I have joined linkedin, but I really haven’t taken advantage of it’s features yet. It definitely seems like a great concept for finding new jobs, or finding networking contacts for current jobs, but I guess I don’t need too much of either one yet!

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John Carson

LI has been my main contacts network since it started, and I use it every day to get answers for my job (social media) and to liaise with people who I have met, and who I haven’t met yet, but would like an intro.

“They advise not to be too promiscuous in expanding a LinkedIn network, because ‘too many people can weaken your network.'”

Totally disagree with that, by the way.

John Carson.


Business is socializing with purpose. And socializing can be business. Maybe it’s not as flashy as a Facebook or MySpace (which suck from a usability standpoint) but it gets the job done. It organizes my contacts, tells them relevant information about me and lets me contact other knowledgeable experts. But of course that’s not as social as being invited to join someones gang in a maffia game.


LinkedIn is really a glorified Rolodex for business users. I don’t understand why it keeps getting compared to Facebook and MySpace, and I don’t know why it keeps getting described as a social networking tool. It’s a business networking tool, and happens to have two or three social functions, but that doesn’t warrant it being classified as a social network.


LinkedIn certainly is for me the most useful. Because it is so dedicated to one type of contact, primarily business and hr, it is very useful. Other social networks are more truly socail with lots of games fun pictures etc. That’s nice, but as Christian says:

“You dont need to wade through tons of irrelevant bs to get to what you want.”

Personally, Facebook et al remind of those old Geocities and homepages where people mentioned they have a cat. Nice for family and friends, completely irrelevant for the rest of the world. LinkedIn forces users to be relevant.


I like LinkedIn as it is a no-crap social network. You dont need to wade through tons of irrelevant bs to get to what you want.


LinkedIn is still the most relevant social network for me for business contacts.

For less formal contacts, Facebook is fine. I would hesitate to make it the primary business network because of all the potential for public views of er…colorful comments and pictures by friends.

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