Learned After Using LinkedIn for 10 Years
Screenshot of @topgold on LinkedIn.
I'VE LEARNED A LOT from LinkedIn since first dabbling with it in the fall of 2003. Back then, I couldn't find more than a dozen people in Ireland using it but today, I get more cost-effective interactions through it than time spent on Facebook--and there is much more cross-talk on Facebook than LinkedIn.
I remember hearing about an "online business network" (aka LinkedIn) during a year that I spent developing a design pattern that became an Irish patent. I was spending a year away from teaching duties and had the time to explore new frontiers. So I built my first identity on LinkedIn and watched nothing happen. Back in 2003, the happening space for me was the Irish Internet Association's Webmaster Shoptalk List. And then Boards.ie for some good dust-ups. Nobody in my immediate circle was using the kludgy forms-based LinkedIn system a decade ago.
It wasn't until 2007 that I started seeing LinkedIn's value as a placement mechanism. I was able to go directly to CTOs and CEOs with requests for summer internships needed by our students as part of their creative multimedia degree programme. Based on the connections I'd developed, I got faster results and placed more students than a full-time student services staff member accomplished.
I still haven't leveraged LinkedIn Groups because I'm a member of too many groups. Time to cull so I can be as efficient in those groups as I am inside Google Plus Communities.
The best feature I've seen in the 10 years aboard LinkedIn is LinkedIn Signal--but that's discontinued. LinkedIn Signal showed me everyone's status update stream. It was searchable by keywords, type of updates, location. connection level, and industry. I could see colleagues, competitors, chancers, and contacts. Before hooking up with someone on LinkedIn, I could simply dip into their Signal and it would give me more insights about their activity stream than any other mechanism. Now I have to scroll around, click menus and occasionally dive into extraneous links to get the same information. It's not worth my time and energy. I wish I had Signal back.
I've connected one of my Flickr photostreams to my LinkedIn accounts and now get more comments and direct feedback from a network of more than 1000 connections from simple things like snaps from Foursquare check-ins that percolate across into LinkedIn status updates. Those Flickr activities suggest I'm warm and fluffy and maybe that's good. It appears that many of my Linkedin connections visit the service via apps on tablets and LinkedIn believes those people average 30 Page Views per session.  That's massive and it represents the Reader market Google abandoned.
I like the flow I get from LinkedIn Influencers. I don't follow many of those people but it's fun to see one of my university debate team members labeled as a LinkedIn Influencer. Because I get his occasional tidbits piped into my Nokia handset via LinkedIn, I buy all his books. 
I've a laundry list of things LinkedIn wants me to do with my profile but ticking off that list means giving away course development time to LinkedIn instead. I like watching all my SlideShare presentations bubble up on LinkedIn but for me to do some manual labour with my profile means carving out the time. I'm more likely to do that if LinkedIn gives me an annual reduction in the subscription I pay to be a Premium Member.
1. Sandi MacPherson -- "Lessons Learned from Growing LinkedIn" on Quibb.