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What Is LinkedIn?

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So you’ve received a LinkedIn invitation, or you’ve overheard friends talking about it, and you might be wondering, exactly what is LinkedIn anyway?

Simply put, it’s a business-focused social network, designed first and foremost to help you leverage your existing relationships. You can also meet and interact with new people, in a professional context. Here’s what LinkedIn themselves have to say about it:

For more about what makes LinkedIn uniquely beneficial for business vs. other social networking sites, see Why Use LinkedIn?

Scott Allen is a true social media pioneer, helping turn virtual relationships into real business since 2002. He is coauthor of The Virtual Handshake, the first book on using social media for business, and contributor to over a dozen books on social media, marketing & entrepreneurship. He is currently Director of Client Solutions for Momentum Factor, a social media and online marketing management firm specializing in the direct selling industry.


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  1. Jayde Morgan says:

    Well I have no idea what the poster of Feb 2, 2012 is TALKING about with the garbled attempt at some language that might be English.

    I just wanted to try to find out what this LinkedIn thing is; an acquaintance who, same as myself, is retired and I’m sorry but I do not understand why people who are not employed should join ANY of these so-called “social networks.”

    I’d a lot rather take questions regarding needs to people I already know, than toss a request for enlightenment out to a never-ending internet.

    Cripes I get enough garbage mail from idiots who steal, buy, trade e-addresses among themselves…and YES, I do indeed report the spammers. The ISP heads seem to do nothing about their TOS violators but I keep reporting their miscreants anyway.

    What a social network the previous commenter seems to feel has something to do with going around barefoot, I have no idea. More than likely the commenter had crawled with his/her bare feet too far into a bottle of Makes You Stupid?

    • Scott Allen says:

      That poster of Feb. 2 was one that slipped through. I try to catch ‘em all, but like you said, even so, some still get by.

      As far as LinkedIn for retirees… probably not so much of an issue. It’s definitely intended for people who are active in their career. THAT SAID… don’t retirees have value to bring to active businesses as advisors? Isn’t that what SCORE is all about? So if you’re willing to do that, LinkedIn makes it possible for people to find you based on your expertise, rather than having to be a family friend or friend of a friend.

      Regarding other social networks for retirees — Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family — especially with the younger generation who may only call you every couple of months, but post pictures and short blurbs about their activities on Facebook on a daily basis. It’s definitely growing in that segment — women over 55 is the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook.

      Food for thought. :-)

  2. mary corbett says:

    Hello,
    I was invited to join linkedin by a cousin of my husbands. I am an artist and I am always looking for venues such as galleries and boutiques to place my art goods that I design for sale. I thought this may be a good oppurtunity to get further out there.I design hand crafted jewelery,and make beautiful hand crafted handbags from gorgeous fabrics. I am also a watercolor artist and design costumes when I am able for a local theatre group. I have over 40 years of sewing expertise and have so much to offer in that area.

    I was one of the lucky ones and was able to retire quite early. I have done so much since my retirement as a curator and art teacher and feel like I am really just getting started.

    I thank you for this oppurtunity to leave a reply.

    Sincerely,
    Mary Corbett

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  4. Greta says:

    I received a invite to this LinkedIn, with someone and just showing their first name, Karen. There are plenty of Karen’s, so this doesn’t give me the opportunity to even know who, what or anything about this Karen, or even if I know her. It seems that I have to join your network in order to find out, which is ridiculous. Since you then will have my information, even if I tried to cancel, and find out that I do not even know this Karen.

    • Scott Allen says:

      That is kind of ridiculous. Did it not have their photo?

      That said, there’s really no reason NOT to join LinkedIn… why not just go ahead and join?

      And, by the way, it’s not “my” network — this is an independent site — no affiliation with LinkedIn.

  5. Dianne Hartman says:

    I got a request to join LinkedIn from someone I know.How do I know if that person initiated the request or if it happens automatically when you enter your msn e.mail address in windows 8 and that person is in your contact list and uses LinkedIn

    • Scott Allen says:

      Dianne:

      It’s not automatic like that. It might be a batch process — “Do you want LinkedIn to scan your address book to help you find existing connections”, or something like that, but the process still has to be initiated by the user.

  6. Tori says:

    I do not really understand how LinkedIn works but I got an invitation today from someone who I have not spoken to in a very long time, and our parting was not amicable. I did not accept yet, but I notice the person’s profile pic was updated. Is there any way LinkedIn just SENT me an invite, such as when the profile was updated, or did the person HAVE to send it personally? I don’t want to reconnect if it was an auto invite, but if I don’t I might miss out on an employment opportunity at a really good organization. Any ideas? p.s. I don’t have Windows 8, but if I did does that mean LinkedIn just takes control of my e-mail and mails out stuff? If that’s true, that’s so not acceptable.

    • Scott Allen says:

      The person had to send it personally…sort of. LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to just send an invitation to everyone in your contacts list, which is probably what they did. They may not have thought about the consequences of that, but LinkedIn didn’t just do it automatically.

      You might want to read more about sending batch LinkedIn invitations.

  7. Kami Oliver says:

    I received an invitation to join Linked in. I started the process and then was asked for my email which I had already given, and then the password to my email. I included the password that I was intending to use for Linked in. I received a message that they want the password to my email! I have been told numerous times never to divulge my email password. I have contacted my server manager – they told me that no one should be asking for my email password.

    What is going on. I would like to join, but can’t get by the step to divulge my email password.

    Kami

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