Does LinkedIn Reflect the Future of Social Media?
When you ask people to explain LinkedIn, they often label it as “Facebook for Professionals”. At a high level, there is some truth to this description. However, if users take a purely Facebook-like approach to their LinkedIn account, they will fail to maximise the value it can deliver them professionally. Let me explain.
From its inception, Facebook was a platform designed to connect people with those they already knew, i.e. family, friends and works colleagues. Over time, as companies have recognised the benefit of having a presence on Facebook, people have also chosen to follow brands and local businesses they are passionate about. In both instances, the desired outcomes are purely personal and/or social.
When people first join LinkedIn, it must be acknowledged that a similar approach is taken to quickly establish a presence on the platform. However, if these people choose to limit their connections to only those people they know, they’re missing a fantastic opportunity. Due to its professional nature, LinkedIn provides users the ability to:
proactively connect with individuals in like occupations or industries, whom they have never met
share content with and engage occupation and/or industry related groups (forums) to demonstrate their professional knowledge
explore opportunities for professional growth, via new employment or training
access a vast talent pool of skilled professionals, for instances where they may be recruiting for their own business
Put simply, LinkedIn offers an environment where it is perfectly acceptable to directly reach out to, connect, engage and interact with people who you don’t know. Some limitations exist in this regard, however, they are not obstacles which can’t be overcome. While some may argue that brand/community pages on Facebook allow similar interaction, the value it delivers individuals is limited, discourse is personal and the risk of a negative experience is enhanced.
In my opinion, the opportunities that LinkedIn offer are reflective of the value people will increasingly extract from social media in the future. While personal interaction becomes increasingly ad-hoc and less authentic, professional growth is limitless if proactively pursued.
Until next time.