LinkedIn sounds good in theory- a social network for professionals, where you can put your most businesslike foot forward, connect with others in your industry, and participate in networking and discussions on a higher, more grown-up level than Facebook or Myspace. I remember getting excited about connecting with people from work and school, seeing who they were connected to, and thinking about all the opportunities to connect with potential employers.
Then I got a job. When you’re not looking for employment or employees, and you’re faced with a finite amount of free time in the day, you want to allocate it to something enjoyable. LinkedIn is not enjoyable. Andy Wibbels from Six Apart nails it:
I don’t see the need to use LinkedIn if I’m not looking for a job – I’m sure that is a total insult to all the many things the designers and engineers behind LinkedIn see as other ways to use the site – but I simply don’t get it. Plus, I’m not the type to hermetically seal my business and personal lives so if crazy updates from Facebook or Twitter or my blogs are seen by both co-workers, potential employers, friends and possibly conservative-minded extended family members in Indiana (who are always polite enough to just simply ignore those things since that’s just how we roll in Hoosier-ville).
As does Josh Porter:
LinkedIn is not used every day by most of the people who use it. Many of the 38 million registered users use it infrequently. Personally, I only use it to respond to requests for connections or some other email notification I receive (sad but true). Other than pruning it as a weak-ties network, LinkedIn really isn’t that useful for me. A lot of folks I’ve talked to share this sentiment…it’s basically used as a souped-up contacts manager.
On the other hand, who cares? As a souped-up contact manager, LinkedIn works really, really well, and the ability to see a person’s work history, contacts, and recommendations at a glance is wonderful when scoping out potential business partners or employees. LinkedIn is a nifty tool, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it be a daily destination for anyone but headhunters and the unemployed.