How LinkedIn Has Changed the Space of Professional Networking:
Since its introduction into the modern, technological world, LinkedIn has proven to change the space of professional networking. Its dependability has allowed companies to be viewed more positively and less intrusive. In an interview with Business Insider, LinkedIn’s Executive Editor, Dan Roth, explains that LinkedIn is beneficial for users who are on the opposite side of large organizations; meaning they can engage in authentic group discussions and talks about big companies. From these discussions, Roth notes, “because that interaction is authentic and not about selling services, people come away with a positive impression” of the company (Nisen, 2012). These open forums not only give LinkedIn the capacity to change the space of professional networking but they allow corporations to diminish barriers with their employees and customers by allowing them to appeal to personal concerns.
Moreover, LinkedIn has catered to the need of building a professional self-presentation and has given prospective employers and desired business partners the opportunity to visualize a specific user in a professional setting. According to Dijck’s article, “You have one identity: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn,” users are able to constantly keep themselves within the professional identity on LinkedIn (Dijck, 2013). In contrast to the past, professional identities don’t disappear after 5 O’clock. Instead, they are always accessible to whoever may need references or services.
In order to achieve the highest position and impact within the professional industry, LinkedIn is no longer an optional activity. Forbes terms the LinkedIn Effect as having altered the nature of human communication (Smith, 2014). Smith notes that long-term success is reliant upon professional sites such as LinkedIn because our brain categorizes people we know in an effort to manage our personal networks (2014). Additionally, Smith suggests that our “weak ties,” (which are most likely located on networking sites) are the key to finding new jobs, or getting different insights. Having LinkedIn provides more acquaintances, which in turn provide more opportunities for leading different lives than we already have (Smith, 2014).
The overarching concept of LinkedIn encompasses vast changes for the professional networking field. Not only does LinkedIn provide authenticity for companies to improve their image while constructing always-accessible professional images, but it also creates outlets for expansion or less-stagnant careers.
Types of Technology that are Available and how they Differ from Before:
LinkedIn is the primary professional networking technology that has changed how career fields connect, interact, and differentiate. Before LinkedIn, there was never a customizable platform to become professionally integrated. Now, features on the site offer users a visual overview of their network by illustrating primary industries, locations and connections’ job titles/goals. Furthermore, LinkedIn differentiates itself from other professional sites by making itself to be the complete, one-stop shop. For example, it has a job application feature but divides itself from job sites like Indeed, Monster or CareerBuilder through the special LinkedInsight feature. This item gives control to hiring managers who can then “assess a candidate’s viability through their relationships, references, and reputation” (Yeung, 2013).
In general, LinkedIn is the type of technology that has changed the way users interact with companies, apply for jobs, create discussion, and illustrate their interests. Overall, the interconnectivity gives LinkedIn the opportunity to provide users with tools and features to excel their careers and professional image.
When LinkedIn was Introduced and When it Met its Critical Mass:
LinkedIn was first introduced in 2003 after executive chairman and co-founder put together a team of colleagues with previous job experience in sites like PayPal and SocialNet. Like most new ideas, growth was at a steady slow with as little as 20 new members per day (Colophon, 2015). As the site was fine-tuned in 2004 with experimentation of new features like group pages, 2005 was the year that revenue began to build as subscriptions and job postings were now offered (Colophon, 2015). In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Business in 2013, Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO discusses the company’s growth. Weiner explains that the company has reached a critical mass of “225,000,000 members on a global basis and growing faster than 2 members per second” due to people updating their profiles even when they’re not looking for work (Bloomberg, 2013). Weiner also attributes this critical mass to historical changes. He comments that in the past, resumes were only updated for active job seeking but now, people are using the site on a more frequent basis and staying relevant as a result (Bloomberg, 2013).
A large part of LinkedIn’s revenue is brought in by subscription packages. Source: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/05/05/linkedin-10-years-social-network/#gref
LinkedIn’s user locations. Source: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/05/05/linkedin-10-years-social-network/#gref
How Behavior Norms Have Changed from LinkedIn:
Since the context of professional networking has changed, so have the behaviors of users. The Internet is so instantaneous that a simple update can spur notifications across a single user’s connections. LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, attributes a different kind of professional to LinkedIn. The LinkedIn member is more active within the community and demanded that he/she stay relevant and up-to-date with employers or hiring managers (Bloomberg, 2013). For example, when a profile is updated, notifications are sent via email to connections. Moreover, users can be termed passive candidates. As a result of frequently updating a profile, “recruiters and hiring managers can search and get this very large platform and network for exactly the right candidate regardless of they are seeking for a job. These are called passive candidates” (Bloomberg, 2013). According to Pew Research Center, there has been an increase of LinkedIn users utilizing other social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest (Duggan et at., 2015). These behaviors indicate that LinkedIn has generated more Internet engagement by fostering the creation of accounts. Overall, users are able to become more actively engaged in professionally branding themselves both online and in mobile form from a pervasive and instant Internet.
Percentages of social media use based on frequency. Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/frequency-of-social-media-use-2/
Bloomberg., (May 9, 2013). LinkedIn growth has reached ‘critical mass’: Weiner. Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/0cc9be1a-9f80-4102-b411-70bddaa4cc36
Dijck, J,. (2013). You have one identity: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media Culture and Society, 35, 199-215. Doi:10.1177/0163443712468605
Duggan, M., Ellison, N., Lampe, C., Lennart, A., & Madden, M., (January 9, 2015). Frequency of social media use. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/frequency-of-social-media-use-2/
Nisen, M., (Sep. 28, 2012). LinkedIn has changed the way companies talk to people. Business Insider. Retrieved from
Smith, R., (Oct. 20, 2014). The LinkedIn Effect: Why social media is not mandatory for success. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricksmith/2014/10/20/the-linkedin-effect-why-social-media-is-now-mandatory-for-success/#353ae4e1c1b7
Yeung, K., (May 5, 2013). LinkedIn is 10 years old today: here’s the story of how it changed the way we work. The next web insider. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/05/05/linkedin-10-years-social-network/#gref