May 06 2013

LinkedIn: The Social Network for Professionals Turns 10

The 225-million strong social network has carved out a valuable niche for itself in the crowded social media space.

May 5, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of a major player in social networking’s founding: LinkedIn.

While Facebook and Twitter often get the glory and fame when it comes to social media super heroics, it’s LinkedIn, the social network for professional and human resources recruiters, that has quietly and steadily built a valuable castle on the hills of social networking.

Most of the attention hogging with Twitter and Facebook has to do with the fact that they are consumer-oriented platforms while LinkedIn is where people put their professional foot forward.

While you might share that awesome LOL cat meme on Twitter or Facebook, you’d never dare with clutter your LinkedIn page with such unserious content. LinkedIn is all business, and while some might think that has limited the company, it’s actually helped it to carve out a unique value proposition in a crowded field.

It's true that helping job seekers and employes connect might not sound as hip as tweeting Lady Gaga or Liking the latest movie still from Iron Man 3. But it has turned into a business that generates $325 million in revenue per quarter, reports The Next Web.

“Universally, people tend to underutilize their existing network of contacts because they don't take as systematic an approach to managing their networks as they do to developing other parts of their careers, like skill sets,” said Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn's co-founder and then-CEO in an interview with BizTech in 2005.

Among some of the remarkable moments in LinkedIn’s 10-year history include the time when President Obama hosted a LinkedIn TownHall at the Computer History Museum with the company's CEO Jeff Weiner as the moderator. LinkedIn’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2011 also sparked hope that there’d be a social media boom in the public markets akin to the late ‘90s dotcom boom, but Facebook’s rollercoaster of an IPO put the brakes on that. More recently, LinkedIn has focused on building out its content offerings by building a platform for influential voices in business to blog and share insights.

This is a nod to the progress Twitter and Facebook have made in attracting highly visible influencers to their platforms. It seems that the consumerization of IT extends far beyond the hardware. But it's important to note that LinkedIn is doing influencers in its own way, without compromising on the work-first atmosphere it has so carefully constructed and nurtured. 

So don't break out your animated GIFs just yet.

What’s your favorite LinkedIn memory over the past decade? Has it helped you land a job or find game-changing talent for your company?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilascarborough/6290003115/sizes/l/" target="_blank">TheSeaFarer/Flickr</a>

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