Remember when LinkedIN was a web site you hopped on when you needed a job or thought you did. For the longest time, that’s all it was or that’s all it seemed to be, a job seeking platform. People sent you a LinkedIn invite and you accepted because you realized that some day you might have to look for a job yourself so it’s better to be connected. But in the past year something’s changed. Professionals are on there that clearly are not job seeking. I investigated this issue further.
A lot of my research churned up articles about how well the company is doing financially. Turns out most of their revenue is due to their “recruiting” resources they sell. Which lead me back to the job thing. Then another reporter correlated LinkedIN user growth to unemployment growth from 2007 to now. That made sense to me, job loss would mean user growth on a job search site, right? But that doesn’t really add up because it doesn’t explain the non job seeking invites. And let me be upfront with you right here and now. I do not have a lot of connections on LinkedIN. Whenever I receive them, I accept them but I don’t go out of my way to send LinkedIn invites but with this latest observed professional growth…I might. My coworker did and she had amazing results. In fact, it was her persistence on “this crazy LinkedIn” success stories that prompted me to write this piece. I think it’s best to sum up her story with the email she sent me as “proof” of how this “crazy LinkedIn” thing worked.
This email was written after a professional wrote the following:
How do you know me?
He wrote this AFTER he ACCEPTED her invite. That’s important. She replied the following:
And if it’s not already apparent, that’s a long message that basically says, “I don’t really know you. Sorry.” But the point is he still accepted her invite, LOTS of people did and we’re in the process of conducting business with them right now.
Here’s my theory of what’s going on.
Last spring I gave a talk on “social media and ethics.” More people are aware that there is a boundary on social media between the professional and personal. More people are on social media than ever before and more people like me are doing their best to educate the professionals what’s appropriate and what’s not. My theory is that people are finally realizing that you can’t post personal rants and sometimes inappropriate personal photos in a place where your professional life coexists with personal. However, there still is a real tangible benefit to connecting professionally with people online. You just have to be smart about it. LinkedIN is one of those places that has created a professional Facebook like experience for you. And more people like me are educating professionals and recommending to them to go there and connect professionally. I think what’s happening is that people are actually listening.
Oh and by the way, if you want to send me an invite on LinkedIN. I’m on there. Just sayin.
Below is a random photo that makes me happy. Enjoy!