In the spring of 2007 a handful of people, who I barely knew (except for Cheryl D.) were telling me to join LinkedIn. Some were very insistent. It felt like they were demanding I join LinkedIn. My reaction at the time was; I get a billion emails a day, I don’t need another billion emails a day. I asked my boss at the time, Peter Bell, what he thought and he said, if I wanted to, go ahead and join. Looking back, I overestimated the email volume.
So, on May 21, 2007, I signed up for an account. Being an Executive Recruiter I knew about 100 people, who I had known for a few years, who would take my invitation seriously enough to connect with me. I wrote one of the humblest invitation letters in history. Back then I had not been part of MySpace, I would not join Facebook until October 4, 2007 and thought I had nothing worthwhile to blog about. I can take some credit for inviting many people to LinkedIn and Facebook. Though I am realistic enough to realize they would have joined without my recommendation. But not in 2007.
People have said that LinkedIn is the one social media network that is not addictive. I don’t exactly recall what LinkedIn looked like in 2007 except there was no profile photo and no LinkedIn Publisher. As I grew my network and had positive experiences with people, I would invite them to become my 1st-degree LinkedIn connection. Sometimes I would invite a person who was a connection that I knew from another social media network. As happens with me, if I did not know a person very well, the person would check the dreaded “I don’t know this person” link and I would get a stern notice from LinkedIn not to spam people. I can’t recall the exact year, like I can recall everything about my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram experiences, but at some point, LinkedIn exploded and I was getting lots of invitations from lots of people. Whether I connected or not, I never used the “I don’t know this person” link.
LinkedIn dramatically changed the way I did business as an Executive Recruiter. It’s hard to say if I would prefer to go back to a pre-LinkedIn world or not. There are advantages and disadvantages of social media being such an important part of my career and my life. But this is the world we live in and I accept it. LinkedIn has undergone major changes and each one has been as lovingly embraced as they are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which means people (including me) wonder why they changed a good thing for something nobody asked for. In the end we adapt.
This wasn’t meant to be a teary-eyed tribute to my 13 years on LinkedIn. I do appreciate it was the first social network I ever joined, I have never left, everyone has made me feel welcomed here and gave me the confidence to be on other social media platforms.
So how long have you been on LinkedIn and what are your memories?