Little bit of LinkedIn history
LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. In 2006, LinkedIn increased to 20 million viewers. As of June 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 259 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories.
The site is available in 20 languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, Malay, and Tagalog. As of 2 July 2013, Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 65.6 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 178.4 million globally,a number that as of 29 October 2013 has increased to 184 million. In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace. LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol “LNKD”.
One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. However, if the invitee selects “I don’t know” or “Spam”, this counts against the inviter. If the inviter gets too many of such responses, the account may be restricted or closed.
This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:
- A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
- Users can not upload their resume any more. This was a feature but became redundant in late 2012.
- It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.
- Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
- Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
- Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
- Users can now follow different companies and can receive notifications about the new joining and offers available.
- Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs that they would like to apply for.
- Users can “like” and “congratulate” each other’s updates and new employments.
- Users can see who has visited their profile page.
LinkedIn also supports the formation of interest groups, and as of March 29, 2012 there are 1,248,019 such Maubuame groups whose membership varies from 1 to 744,666. The majority of the largest groups are employment related, although a very wide range of topics are covered mainly around professional and career issues, and there are currently 128,000 groups for both academic and corporate alumni.
Groups support a limited form of discussion area, moderated by the group owners and managers. Since groups offer the ability to reach a wide audience without so easily falling foul of anti-spam solutions, there is a constant stream of spam postings, and there now exist a range of firms who offer a spamming service for this very purpose. LinkedIn has devised a few mechanisms to reduce the volume of spam, but recently took the decision to remove the ability of group owners to inspect the email address of new members in order to determine if they were spammer. Groups also keep their members informed through emails with updates to the group, including most talked about discussions within your professional circles.
Groups may be private, accessible to members only or may be open to Internet users in general to read, though they must join in order to post messages.
LinkedIn allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company’s headquarters and offices, or a list of present and former employees.
In July 2011, LinkedIn launched a new feature allowing companies to include an “Apply with LinkedIn” button on job listing pages. The new plugin will allow potential employees to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes. All applications will also be saved under a “Saved Jobs” tab.
LinkedIn allows users to endorse each other’s skills. This feature also allows users to efficiently provide commentary on other users profiles – network building is reinforced. However there is no way of flagging anything other than positive content.
LinkedIn solicits endorsements based on algorithms that generate skills members might have. Members cannot opt out of such solicitations, with the result that it sometimes appears that a member is soliciting an endorsement for a non-existent skill.