Whether they put skin in the game or not, everyone has been watching the Facebook IPO for the last week or so. The stock has only fallen from its $38-a-share launch, and though its price seems to have stabilized around $32 in the last day or so, the company is being sued over ‘selective disclosure’ of its weakened earnings portfolio. One of the things that has weakened the stock is the fact that ever more people are accessing Facebook on mobile devices, where advertising dollars are (at this point) scarce. Another concern is that Facebook tries to be all things for all people (all 900 billion users), whereas other social-networking platforms are making strong inroads as specialists in certain kinds of social and informational exchanges. One of those is LinkedIn, a network designed for professionals looking to present their business selves online to other professionals. In our ongoing and period series of social-network platforms, we introduce (and in many of our readers’ cases ‘remind you of’) LinkedIn.
The platform was launched in May 2003, and currently has about 161 million members. Though a pittance compared to Facebook, metrics show that LinkedIn members tend to be more engaged in their LinkedIn networks and leverage the network for job applications, recommendations, and professional advice. It also is currently trading at about $98 a share (though it too has slipped in the last few days with Facebook).
Here is the company’s introductory video showing how an account can give you access to peers and colleagues who work within your professional field, and how that network can be advantageous in many ways:
One striking feature that distinguished LinkedIn is the opportunity to solicit and share recommendations. Indeed, your own account is not considered complete until you have two recommendations from your peers. Such a feature, rare in the social-networking universe, gives LinkedIn a grade of professionalism and, well, maturity, that family photos of the weekend pool party shared on Facebook just can’t match.
Moreover, nonprofits and businesses can have accounts on LinkedIn (á la Facebook) that can create networks among both other such businesses and charities and employees within such companies. See and Follow, for example, the. One can search for specific nonprofits or persons, or search via keywords to find organizations in a particular industry or location.
And as you develop your connections and networks, LinkedIn offers a cool way to make graphical what you can intuit in your list of connections (InMaps):
LinkedIn’s small size relative to the 800-pound gorilla in the social media universe is precisely its strength. You know what kinds of information you will find − and what kinds of information you are not likely to stumble upon. Moreover, your public profile’s URL can be a handy addition to your business cards, your resume, and your organization’s outreach materials. The value of LinkedIn far surpasses its size.