TechCrunch noted that, in January 2009, LinkedIn's unique visitor count surged 22% over the previous month and "minutes spent on the site" doubled. Observers have noted that LinkedIn's growth may be a response to the bad economy. But LinkedIn is much more than a place to plop a resume.
In a July 6 post, LinkedIn "personal trainer" Steven Tylock explained why the social networking site is for more than job hunting. I agree with Tylock, for the following four reasons:
1. The recent explosion of "groups" on LinkedIn offers thousands of options for joining a cadre of compatible professionals. Some of the groups are huge (Marketing&PR Innovators has some 54,000 members) and some groups are quite small -- even picky -- in their "by invitation only" practices. The choice is ours.
2. The number of folks flocking to the"Group Discussions" has exploded in recent months. People are asking more questions and making more comments. It's terrific peer-to-peer learning and a chance to share what you know.
3. The most exciting use I've seen recently, was initiated by LinkedIn activist Gerald "Solutionman" Harman, who manges (among other things), the Twitter Innovators group. Harman recently invited members of that group (who, I think numbered only in the hundreds at the time) to "introduce" their Twitter-selves to other members. When I checked this morning the Group had mushroomed to 10,806 members. Obviously, something went viral here and no wonder...
4. .... Linked and Twitter make a terrific professional partnership. Harman got hundreds of people to introduce themselves. In the first week particularly, the quality of people sharing their twitter account was exceptionally high (no spammers or network marketers, just genuine experts looking to connect). That week of activity helped a lot of us identify compatible people to follow on Twitter. The effort also facilitated additional LinkedIn relationships because any who chose to do so could connect by virtue of membership in the Twitter Innovators group.
For these reasons and more -- and unlike my somewhat negative experience with Facebook -- as a professional I am a total LinkedIn fan.
A year ago, LinkedIn got a $53 million infusion of funding from Bain Capital, putting the company's valuation then at $1 billion. In February, based on site visits, Web analytics provider, Compete, rated LinkedIn fifth in the social networking line-up, with 11,274,000 users, behind Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flixster. The year-over-year comparison showed that Facebook had overtaken MySpace for the top spot, but LinkedIn had moved up four slots from ninth place (Note: Twitter won the place improvement race, though, moving from 22nd to third position).
So far, LinkedIn has proven to be the best professional social media network. I think it's going to get even better.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo