LinkedIn: What It Is, Who It's For, and Why You Should Too

By: Amelia Clark | @dishpit So, you're on LinkedIn (as you should be). But, you ask, what IS LinkedIn? Why is every professional you know flocking to the site? What do you do with your profile now that you are signed up? We are going to answer your questions this week, starting with:

What is LinkedIn?

Wikipedia's intro paragraph on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn (NYSELNKD) (play /?l??kt.??n/) is a business-related social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003,[3] it is mainly used for professional networking. As of 22 March 2011, LinkedIn reports more than 120 million registered users, spanning more than 196 countries and territories worldwide.[4][5] The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Russian and Turkish.[6][7] Quantcast reports Linkedin has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally.[8] In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace.[9]

LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD".[10]

Okay, so those are the basics.

There are also some interesting tidbits listed on LinkedIn's About Page, including the fact that LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002 and that they are now headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and also have U.S. offices in Chicago, New York, Omaha and San Francisco and international offices are located in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Delhi, Dublin, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, Paris, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto.

Plus, these interesting stats are found there as well:

  • As of June 30, 2011 (the end of the second quarter), professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate that is faster than two new members per second.
  • As of August 4, 2011, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010.

I know what you're thinking.  That's great.  But what the heck does it have to be with me? Basically, all this means is that LinkedIn is the place to be if you are:

  • A professional that relies on your network for success (lets face it, that's all of us)
  • A professional seeking a job
  • A sales person at any level (especially if in B2B sales)
  • A college student considering a professional career
  • An executive of any company
  • A recruiter (I'm betting you're already on there everyday)

Why? Because all the other professionals, salespeople, prospective clients and executives you have ever done business with or will do business with are also flocking to the platform, and that means more, better connections! That's it.

It's not just for finding a job, and it's not just for recruiters. LinkedIn is the virtual representation of your real-life network, and it can be a powerful tool to grow business, stay connected, and build relationships.

Here are a few blogs to get you started with your profile, and stay tuned-in this week for more LinkedIn fun: