LinkedIn is a large social network for businesses and individual professionals. The website caters to professionals and companies in all industries all over the world. The user can build a profile and include their education and work history, portfolio and other relevant details. The site encourages users to add other professionals as a way of extending their circle of contacts. The user can find others through their direct contacts and possible find people with the skills they need or employers with job openings. The user can send private messages, join groups and establish relationships with companies and individuals. The site suggests others and offers a simple search tool that allows the user to find other users or search by company, job, updates or groups.
LinkedIn was founded in May of 2003 by Jean-Luc Vaillant, Reid Hoffman and Konstantin Guericke. The LinkedIn network has become wildly popular among professionals. For many, it is viewed as a staple among their marketing and promotional tools. The site has been discussed in a number of on and offline publications, praised for its business-oriented environment, professional features and enormous user base. Although users from many countries use LinkedIn, the site does not allow access to users in Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan. LinkedIn was also banned for a day in China in February of 2011 because the country’s officials believed it could be used to help organize the “Jasmine Revolution.”
LinkedIn stands out for a number of reasons. First, it is the largest social network of its kind. Even users who do not work online often maintain a LinkedIn account. The website also includes features that cater to the business crowd. Users can still add posts, send private messages and share links. However the site limits connections based on the user’s account level. Serious business owners and professionals may be enticed to upgrade while casual users are limited by a free account.
LinkedIn manages to blend social networking with professional features seamlessly. The application adheres to a light grey and blue color scheme. Each feature is contained within menus, much like other social networking sites. The user will notice that the interface is very clean, well-organized and allows for quick and painless navigation. The site gives users a unique opportunity to connect with other professionals in an environment that nurtures professionalism.
A new user can join the LinkedIn community by filling out the short registration form presented along the right side of the homepage. The form asks for a first and last name, email address and password After clicking the gold “Join Now” button below the form, the user is asked to begin building their profile by adding a country, zip code, employment status, job title and company name. Next, the user is asked to search for contacts before being advised to check their email inbox for a confirmation message. This must be accessed to complete registration.
All users can sign up for a LinkedIn account for free. This gives the user access to all basic features. Three upgraded subscription options are also available. The first is the Business account which costs $24.95 per month and includes up to three direct InMail contacts per month, the ability to see 300 more profiles when searching, premium filter access, expanded profiles and the ability to see who has viewed the user’s profile. The Business Plus plan costs $49.95 and includes up to 10 direct InMail contacts per month and 500 profile search views. The Executive account costs $99.95 per month and includes up to 25 InMail contacts per month, 700 profile search views and talent filters.
LinkedIn is a valuable resource for any professional, company or organization in any industry. Maintaining a profile gives the user more exposure as well as another way to be contacted by potential clients, business partners and employers. Companies can find the resources and skills they need and make connections with others in the same industry. The website is easy to use and gives the user a diverse variety of subscription options to choose from.