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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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Great. Now what?
Great. Now what?

I barely understand LinkedIn

I got an email from LinkedIn this morning congratulating me for being among the top five percent most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. Considering that I barely understand the purpose of LinkedIn, I find this hard to believe.

On the other hand, since I barely understand LinkedIn, it just might be true.

The e-mail said LinkedIn has 200 million members, so that puts me in the top 10 million of all profiles, so I guess that’s plausible. It does seem like I’m connected to 10 million people, after all. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this information.

Every day, I get a few LinkedIn requests from people I have never met. Most of them check the box "friend," as their connection to me. I tend to approve the people that I might have some potential professional connection to, the rest I ignore.

And that’s usually where it ends.

A few people have contacted me via LinkedIn to ask for a job or to pitch a story. But the vast majority of these 759 connections I never hear from again.

It’s true that I’ve used LinkedIn to check out the resumes of said job applicants, but beyond that, it hasn’t been much of a tool for me. It feels to me like the boring, red-headed stepchild of Twitter and Facebook.

That being said, I do appreciate the 94 recommendations in the fields of blogging, social media, media relations, public relations and social media marketing – although I don’t recall telling LinkedIn that I was any good at that stuff.

All I know that the last time I updated my profile, a bunch of people asked me if I was looking for a job, because that’s apparently the intent when someone sees a flurry of LinkedIn’s activity. Of course, I said no.

So tell me, what’s the deal with LinkedIn? Am I right that it’s basically a recruiting tool? Or is there more to it? I really want to know.

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