Indeed we know that different social networks are at different stages on their product/service life cycle. Several videos have even suggested the idea that if Facebook were a nation, it’d be the third largest in the world with over five hundred million users. But then again, the most famous social networks are mainly used for personal relationships, personal information, friendly connections and just an informal way of being. The personal more relaxed way of being. However, it isn’t always the case.
Linked in is a professional social network born in May 2003. The eight year old network has just reached its hundred millionth user yesterday. How can we compare that number to Facebook’s unparalleled growth? I am going to go ahead and say that is much much easier for people to expose their true selves with personal relationships, pictures, information, and the like as it is for them to trust the Internet for professional interests (yes, in this day and age the evidence points to that conclusion). Or perhaps is it because Facebook has more flexibility than Linked in does?
Anyway, Linked in, in my personal opinion, offers reliable information of employees, employers and companies at large. There are several locks to make sure that the people you connect with, actually know you. When you send out a “friend” request (which actually would be colleague request) the system asks you how you know that person; you can choose that you’ve met him or her in college, an educational program, a colleague in the same company, at a conference or at the very least, to spell out their e-mail address. If and when you fail to give out the nature of your relationship, then you won’t be allowed to connect with that person. Good! Just imagine if you found Mark Zuckerberg or Carlos Slim on Linked in, everyone would be “friends” with them.
As far as results go, I’ve had plenty. I have met colleagues and business opportunities through that network. I’ve promoted this blog, my twitter account and my online resume in a more detailed manner than in my regular one-paged version for give outs. So yes, the growth may not be as crazy as Facebook’s, but in the last 2 years it has doubled what it built in the first six. More than half its growth is international (outside the US) being Brazil & Mexico with the most users in it. (Read here for full Infographic & Article http://mashable.com/2011/03/22/linkedin-surpasses-100-million-users-infographic/ )
Just think about it, what REAL business opportunities can this network bring you GLOBALLY?