As LinkedIn prepares to make its debut on the NYSE this Thursday, May 19, 2011, it marks the first US born social network platform to go public. As we all become saturated with news about unemployment, foreclosure, and recession, we can view social media as means to improvement. LinkedIn has official dominated the professional online job market with a platform that was initially with social basis. As time moved on, they sought the need for expansion as well as to provide a service the United States so desperately need, job listings. Despite the fact that LinkedIn is NOT the first social network platform in the world to go public, it is certainly setting a symbolic business model that others like Twitter and Facebook could follow in the future.
The Chinese have already offered a social networking product to the NYSE with great success. It was able to raise nearly $750 million in options. Much could be the case for LinkedIn as they already boast 100 million registered professionals. Getting down into the nitty gritty of the network, we find that the 100 million user number could be a little bit skewed. I will preface the next statement by clearly stating that I AM a LinkedIn user, and while I don’t spend as much time there as Twitter or Facebook, the functionality and overall retention of active users is second to none. However, as you browse through member to member we find that many pages have been registered yet for some, much like a new toy, become dormant and understanding over time.
Nothing is more frustrating than establishing a contact and not knowing what is socially or professionally acceptable to make contact with that particular person. Take for example the city of Las Vegas. Granted that the reason people travel to Las Vegas is to probably commit acts of questionable ethics or morals. We ALL know that, “what happens there, stays there.” On the other hand, Las Vegas is the perfect breeding ground for networking. More specifically, imagine the environment within a casino floor or elsewhere having a social cocktail. Some might consider making a professional contact while out socially as being under respected. I like to consider the opposite to be true as there is no better time to retain someone’s name after listening to any stories of success they have to provide. Let’s be honest, the best way to establish an opinion of whether or not the person you are talking to is successfully than by the way he/she purchases drinks and services as well as the type of drinks they are drinking. For example, for a whiskey drinking, odds on, the person drinking Makers Mark is going to have a better success story that the person drinking the well brand.
From personal experience, Las Vegas has been very bad and very good to me in past years. Omitting the poor times, which all happened to occur at poker tables, the good times were filling with libation and networking. Very rarely do you find a place where others go to spend lavishly. Specifically, a friend of mine and I casually enjoyed a cocktail at the Aria Hotel. Soon after, we ended up sharing a table and stories with two gentlemen who ended up covering the tab for our table because we let them sit with us. In the end, the only pieces of personal information that came to fruition were their first name and job titles. In previous years, it would be impossible to locate these two gentlemen from Houston, TX. However, only 15 minutes it took to locate both on LinkedIn. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! It turns out; one of the gentlemen happens to be a very successful sales executive of medical devices in the Houston area and could potentially be offering another contact of mine a job. All made possible in a LinkedIn success story!
It becomes the perfect breeding ground for professional networking as everyone is openly displaying their wealth. If I may use an analogy, Las Vegas physically can be similar to LinkedIn as many of the filters in search items have already been eliminated. It’s difficult to tell the worth of a professional based on a title, but to physically observe people spending money is very demonstrative of their success. Be careful though, in this day and age, many spend lavishly on credit to send off a false perception.
All in all, the message I am sending is that contacts are invaluable regardless of how they are made. LinkedIn’s public offering sparks a conversation about the best ways to connect with one another socially or professionally. The means, although I feel to be important, are can sometimes be overshadowed by the end result. Therefore, despite the way you make your professional contacts, whether it LinkedIn or Wet Republic in Las Vegas, keep them close and continue to recycle them often as this becomes the basis for professional relationships. Keep those contacts coming early and often to develop your own personal CRM. Professionally and socially, it is converging to normalcy that most connections are made electronically in some way shape of form. On today’s agenda, electronic professional networking on LinkedIn, eventually our society is transitioning entire lives onto the computer and will ultimately bring other networking sites dealing with more personal information such as Match.com to completely normalcy.