Like many business people of a certain age, I probably wouldn’t consider myself very cool. Jeans are cool. Indie flicks are cool. And the Italian woman in that new Fiat commercial is certainly cool. I, however, am a 38-year old CEO and suburban mom of a five year old. Decidedly uncool.
Nonetheless, I do work in a cool industry—social media. Social media is a young industry full of visionaries, thinkers, hipsters and entirely cool social media vehicles like Foursquare, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest.
There is one social media platform, however, that is seen as not so cool—LinkedIn. The traits that may not seem very cool at first, though, can’t be taken at face value. Think of LinkedIn like that awkward kid who never got picked to join the team during recess who then grew up to be a multimillion dollar professional mogul.
Here are three common biases that make LinkedIn appear uncool, and reasons you might want to give it a chance.
Uncool Factor #1
There just aren’t that many people there.
Cold Cash Component #1
There are over 150 million members, with 2 joining every second. That’s more than the entire population of Russia, and each day the number of people equal to the population of the country of Samoa join the site.
Uncool Factor #2
It’s old, stodgy, and too business-oriented.
Cold Cash Component #2
The average age of the LinkedIn member is 44, decidedly older than on other social media (Facebook is 38, Twitter is 39), but with age usually comes greater influence and power. You might label them old-fashioned or dull, but folks on LinkedIn tend to hold high-ranking positions within companies. Besides, LinkedIn is not a place people go to live their personal lives. People are there to talk (and to do) business. In 2011 alone, LinkedIn members did nearly 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches on the platform. That translates to a slew of business opportunities that professionals are searching for other folks on LinkedIn to fulfill.
Uncool Factor #3
My friends aren’t there.
Cold Cash Component #3
Maybe you need new friends. Executives, millionaires, venture capitalists, angel investors and recruiters are there and are much more likely to be active on LinkedIn than on any other social media channel. In fact, executives from every Fortune 500 company are on LinkedIn, and 82% of the Fortune 100 use LinkedIn for hiring. If you need to sell things, form business partnerships, or raise capital, then LinkedIn is the place to be. With 49 percent of LinkedIn members having a household income over $100,000 per year, LinkedIn is actually the most affluent mainstream social media there is.
Many of the valuable business relationships and partnerships I enjoy today got started on LinkedIn. Many of my current clients started as prospects on LinkedIn. So whether or not it ever loses its reputation as uncool makes no difference to me. LinkedIn will remain my favorite social media vehicle because I prefer cold, hard cash any day to being cool.
Plus, with enough cash, I can buy a yacht and say “I’m on a boat,” which, just like the Old Spice Guy, will certainly make me ultra-cool. *Unless otherwise hyperlinked, stats added in are from http://press.linkedin.com/about