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Chris

I agree. LinkedIn is just a networking tool. One that is pretty much abused by recruiters and head hunters. However, I've still made a number of useful contacts - hired a web designer, selected a company to help me with advertising, helped get a friend a job, and even found some venture capital. Use it for what it is and it can be a good tool.

dave mcclure

you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but i absolutely disagree with your assertions... both from my personal use & experience, and based on the opinion of hundreds of people i know in the bay area and around the world who use LinkedIn.

i probably use the service AT LEAST two or three times a week, and it's been instrumental in helping me find consulting opportunities with technology startups, venture capital, and in helping to refer others in technology & marketing roles.

furthermore, their general upward trend is quite readily verifiable from numerous sources. while i won't quote Alexa as the most accurate site, you can see LinkedIn's #'s trending up (particularly since they made some changes to the site crawlability a little over a year ago):
http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=linkedin&url=http://www.linkedin.com/


in summary: you're way off base.

[full disclosure: i used to work with the founder at PayPal, and i helped work on a partnership with LinkedIn while i was at Simply Hired. however i have no investment or advisory position with LinkedIn. they kick ass, and i have no conflict whatsoever in saying that]

Seamus

Dave - But compare your "two or three times a week" with the obsessive, constant use of MySpace, LiveJournal, Facebook, Bebo or Piczo by their users. I'm guessing you're not a MySpace (or equivalent) user or the comparison would seem as nuts to you as it does to me.

OK, my "people don't use it for anything of much at all" was just hyperbole - of course people are using it for something. They're joining when they hear it exists, linking to the people they know, and then some of them are using it to find jobs/employees. The growth in pages we're seeing is perfectly consistent with that behaviour.

No way is it the next MySpace or "MySpace for grown-ups though."

DavidEzra

I agree 100% with Seamus ... trying to equate LinkedIn with MySpace is "way off the mark."

(1) Granted, there are a hundful of users who use LinkedIn as *frequently* as an "average MySpace user." However, it would seem (my assumption) that most LinkedIn users actually use / login to LinkedIn perhaps a couple of times a month ... at most - totally *opposite* of MySpace!!! Unfortunatley, this "usage behavior / pattern" goes with the territory that LinkedIn caters too - namely, Job contacts / opportunities. Moreover, since this is so firmly engrained into its DNA, it seems unlikely that LinkedIn will be able to evolve substantially to the point where they will appeal to the masses (and if they do, for all intents and purposes, they will simply become another MySpace / Facebook, as far as it's primary "job to be done" is concerned.)

(2) It seems that they will / have peaked / plateaued with regards to their "membership." "Job Contacts / Opportunities" as a "job to be done" can only attract so many users. It will never have "mass appeal." (In other words, they will never attract over 50% of their target population ... not that most people do not have a "need," but more likely, they simply do not care.) Once again, this is contrary to MySpace / FaceBook, which seems to have "mass appeal" - or greater than 50% adoption within their demographic market.

Dave McClure

i won't argue that LinkedIn usage is nowhere near as frequent as MySpace or Facebook.

however, from a user value standpoint, the LinkedIn demographic is arguably 10-25x more valuable than avg FaceBook or MySpace user. the profile of (at least active) LinkedIn user contains detailed job history information, and the user is typically college educated with several years of post-collegiate work experience. i'd guess if users are worth $5-10 on MySpace, they're worth $25-50 on Facebook, and perhaps $100-1000 on LinkedIn (educated guessing, not any real market #'s there).

usage frequency & size of user base are 2 obvious metrics for value, however demographic and income are 2 other factors as well.

so maybe it's not the "MySpace for Adults" in all possible vectors, however it is a very useful and active userbase within the domain of business professional networking. definitely it's the go-to property for me in that area of functionality. nothing else even comes close.

and for the record: i *DO* have profiles on MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Orkut, Tribe, Ryze, and several other social networks. i might not be target userbase, and i'm an infrequent user on most of those, but certainly i spend a hell of a lot more time on LinkedIn than i do on MySpace or Facebook or any of those above -- probably more time than on any other social network (with the possible exception of perhaps Flickr or YouTube, but that's for very different purposes).

so for me, is *IS* "MySpace for Grownups".

Foxy Sparkle

Hulloo...

I've always thought of Linkedin as a way for networkers - both on and offline - to show off about how many people they 'know', which is a similarity to MySpace - where kids try and collect as many 'friends' as possible to look popular. This is all fine and good, but I don't understand why many professionals link to their Linkedin on their email signature - What am I'm supposed to do with their link, or what it is supposed to suggest, other than this person has lots of online friends?

In terms of 'adult' social networking sites, I think that SoFlow is a good example of one that works properly, but there is also scope for the team over there to do so much more with it.

Mario Sundar

"So here's the problem with LinkedIn - it doesn't do anything. You sign up, you find some colleagues, you link to them and then...nothing."

Well, Seamus, here's my experience: I signed up, I found many colleagues, linked with them, actively networked, strengthened my business ties, connected to the right people, won new business (in my earlier role in Biz Dev), fostered relationships built via blogging, etc....and all this through a free account! So, as you agreed, I think it's unfair to say you get "nothing".

I believe LinkedIn offers tremendous value to its target audience of professionals the world over, as it grows (currently 8.5 million professionals -- far greater reach than any of its competitors), since it allows you 6-degrees access to up-connect and have the edge compared to your peers (even with a free account) and is far more valuable to me than MySpace is for the college-goer.

Seamus

Mario - thanks for commenting, it's nice to hear from a LinkedIn fan who isn't Linked directly to LinkedIn's management...I've already cheerfully accepted that "it doesn't do anything" was hyperbolic and updated my thoughts on the matter here.

To clarify: yes, it does some things and some people find some value from it. No argument there. But it isn't a social network in the MySpace/Bebo/Facebook sense (indeed see comments from Ilana on the following post for why it can't be one) and equating it with MySpace is specious.

greg

I agree, Seamus. As some have pointed out, LinkedIn can be useful for hiring or getting a contact with the inside dope on a prospective employer. But how often do we do any of those things? Not very for me, anyway. LinkedIn is useless for all the in-between stuff like nurturing a network and developing career/interests, etc. Absent those things, it's a little too mercenary for my taste. And just as on MySpace, I'm immediately suspicious of anyone with 100s of contacts and recommendations. It all seems a little too...desperate.

Edward Domain

Seamus,

First off, great blog (I'm going to subscribe), I just found it doing searches on Google for... LinkedIn.

I first found LinkedIn when I was invited last year, and blew it off as "another MySpace site". As the business I founded was folding up, and I moved into a new corporate role in online advertising, I accepted a colleague's invitation from another city, and in the past few days have become acutely aware of the capabilities.

Just from doing a few searches, I have found people at companies I may be interested in ultimately working for, as I am contemplating a move to the West Coast from Chicago.

While I have not started reaching out to others on the site yet, I plan on doing so in the next month or so. I was surfing a little this morning looking for good articles on LinkedIn to see if anyone had actually used it for networking, or if it was what I thought a year ago: useless.

After I have my own new and improved site up and running (in progress now)--- this will be an experiment in the making, based on what I have read I think it is going to prove to be a very useful tool.

And, of course, here is my link:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/edomain

T

Blinxi is the myspace for grown-ups.

Check it out

www.blinxi.com

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Paul

Sure, it isn't myspace, but it is a network that connects people over the internet, i.e., social network.

Tom Raftery, a social networking authority endorses it and so do I.

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