LinkedIn turned 10 years old over the weekend.
Rising from the depths of a dot com Winter, as co-founder, Reid Hoffman, called it, LinkedIn is now a successful public company with over 225 million members and almost $325 million in quarterly revenue.
I found LinkedIn pretty scary when I first saw it in 2003. Why would I as an employer want to showcase my employees (and their resumes) by connecting to them? And what employee would want to broadcast that they were looking for a job?
Take a look at LinkedIn in 2003. It didn’t look all that different than other social networks. It was the day of Friendster and MySpace afterall. But in the ten years since, as The Next Web’s Ken Yeung (@thekenyeung) explains, LinkedIn has evolved into a contact relationship management service, but for individuals.
Where are we headed in our use of LinkedIn?
In 2012, co-founder Allen Blue was asked about the future of his company, to which he replied that LinkedIn’s role has always been to help every professional find a job that they love and be great at it. He believes that soon there will be a world where “people are doing what they love, not just what they have to. Where professionals understand that the work they do is one of the most significant ways in which they can contribute to their communities and the world.”
In the past decade, LinkedIn has surely changed the networking paradigm that millions of people were accustomed to. No longer are we hunting through newspapers or doing speed dating for business professionals.
Many of us have abandoned Monster, CareerBuilder, and other traditional online job boards in favor of LinkedIn because it appears to offer more context into not only what we can share about our professional accolades, but also learn about new opportunities, companies, and the people we want to be connected with.
As a lawyer, you needn’t look at LinkedIn as your vehicle to a new job or new firm, though you could. Look at LinkedIn as a vehicle to connect (in a real way) with people you’d like to meet. People you can learn from, people who will serve as a source of referrals for you, people who will share your content, and people who may become clients.
If you haven’t played around on LinkedIn of late, check it out. LinkedIn’s new Contact feature will prompt you to keep notes, make reminders, and tag contacts for networking purposes. Share content (of others preferably) and you’ll find people you’d want to connect with asking to connect with you.
Look at LinkedIn, as Blue tells it, as a network which enables you to do what you love, not just what you have to — boy, do lawyers need some of that.
If you have a minute, read Yeung’s article. It’s a story of how a company becomes an overnight success after 1o years by weathering a few storms along the way and not being afraid to audible when change was needed.