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Does anybody really use LinkedIn?

So I get these occasional pings from people who want to be on my LinkedIn connection list -- yet I only have 15 and, frankly, I don't check it very often. Yet I have young reporters and colleagues who have a ton o' connections.

View Christopher J. Dorobek's profile on LinkedIn

This is part of that whole social networking thing... and I'm just not sure I totally get it. Here is how Wikipedia describes it... and here is a BusinessWeek story from last year with co-founder Konstantin Guericke.

People who have been working for at least 10 years have a network. It doesn't come from networking; it just comes automatically, from going to work. But people tend to lose touch.

Those networks are valuable. I see business as a Darwinian enterprise. People tend to hire and make other business decisions by drawing on these personal networks. Is a job candidate honest or hard-working? You can't tell from a résumé or even from an interview. That's why people fall back on trusted relationships.

Before you turn 25, your social needs tend to be in the foreground. You want to be cool, express yourself, focus on your friends. I am in my late 30s. I am married and have two kids. My social needs aren't that great. My professional needs are in the foreground.

It is harder to reach people in my age group than it is to reach younger people, who are much quicker adopters of technology. But once you do, the network effects are stronger. And even though a younger audience is easier to get, it's also easier to lose.

There's also a greater ability to monetize an older audience. Our business is built around premium services. The average user pays $200 to $300 a year, and some pay $2,000 a year.

Who would do that?
Let's say a headhunter goes to LinkedIn twice a month and does five searches and finds 14 people. He shows seven of them to a client, who interviews three and hires one. The headhunter gets $30,000. That easily justifies the cost of LinkedIn.

Anyway, you can see my profile here... and get LinkedIn if you want. Maybe we'll find out what it is all about together.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jul 11, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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