LinkedIn Turns 10, Purpose Still Unclear
Today, LinkedIn celebrates its tenth anniversary. It’s 225 million members are apparently using it as some sort of business network for some purpose.
The Next Web (“LinkedIn is 10 years old today: Here’s the story of how it changed the way we work“) tries to explain:
Today marks a historic moment for one of Silicon Valley’s biggest and well-known companies. It has been a decade since LinkedIn was founded as a business-related social network and now it has grown up to become a successful public company with more than 225 million members and nearly $325 million in revenue.
Founded by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly, and Jean-Luc Vaillant on May 5, 2003, LinkedIn has gone on to become a company most startups dream about growing into, and has certainly played a big part in bringing professional lives online and making them more social.
Let’s face it, the existing way of finding a job and making connections is just not working anymore. There’s an adage that says “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” LinkedIn is proof of that. Simply finding an appealing job and submitting a resume isn’t enough — now companies are looking for personalized approaches and recommendations from networks.
When LinkedIn first started, it was a social network for professionals, where users could host their resumes online. The purpose for many was to seek out jobs and have their colleagues and mentors leave recommendations to bolster their credibility. But in the ten years since, it has slowly evolved into more of a contact relationship management service, but for individuals.
While perhaps fully capable of building out these services, the company opted instead to acquire those that best fit its needs.
In its history, eight companies have been acquired by LinkedIn. The first was mSpoke in 2010 for its “adaptive personalization engine” and continued on with ChoiceVendor for its business reviews offering. Soon other purchases were made over the next three years, some for its business-facing service while others were for its core users.
The acquisitions of CardMunch, Connected, Rapportive, SlideShare, andPulse have gone on to strengthen the ability for users to network on the LinkedIn platform. Because the company embraced the mobile age, these purchases didn’t seem to be far-fetched. With CardMunch through to the adoption of Pulse, LinkedIn has made it possible for a person to manage their contact relationships from its very beginning when a business card is presented, through to maintaining the friendship by following their updates and keeping in touch.
I’ve been on LinkedIn for years but have never really figured out what to do with it. I make “connections,” but they’re all people that I either already know “IRL” or through the web.
Granted, I’m not looking for a new job. But I’m not even sure how I’d use LinkedIn to do that unless I were unemployed. After all, several people at my office are part of my network; it doesn’t strike me as prudent to let the people you work with know you’re looking to move on.