When LinkedIn launched 10 years ago, the network was seen as a novel -- but certainly not "must-use" -- online career and contact tool. Indeed, social networking wasn't really a "thing" back then.
Today, presence on LinkedIn is quite simply a best practice for any professional looking to progress in his or her career -- whether that means actively seeking a new position, researching and connecting with potential new clients or seeking advice and expertise from members who have a stated expertise in a new technology you are researching. The site has gone from a place to post your resume electronically, search for jobs and connect with colleagues, to a rich social collaboration platform. And while LinkedIn has certainly made improvements during the decade, the last couple of years have seen a flurry of particularly important enhancements.
LinkedIn was rolled out in 2003, started by a group that included colleagues formerly with SocialNet and PayPal. Growth was slow at first, with as few as 20 signups on some days. Fast-forward to this May, and LinkedIn has more than 225 million members, with two members being added every second, according to the company.
At the time of its Q1 2013 earnings announcement, LinkedIn released an update to some of its stats:
-- Unique visitors (including members and non-members) increased 29% year over year to average 132 million in the first quarter of 2013, according to ComScore. When including SlideShare, LinkedIn averaged 170 million monthly unique visitors.
-- Professionals outside the United States make up more than 64% of LinkedIn.
-- In the first quarter of 2013, an average of 30% of unique visiting members to LinkedIn came through mobile apps, versus just 19% a year ago.
-- Page views (excluding mobile) increased 18% from a year ago to 11 billion in the first quarter of 2013, according to ComScore.
-- LinkedIn is the 22nd most-visited website in the world as of March 2013, according to ComScore.
-- More than 2.9 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.
-- More than 1.5 million unique publishers actively use the LinkedIn inShare button on their sites.
-- There are more than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups.
-- More than 5.7 billion professionally oriented searches were done on LinkedIn in 2012.
-- There are more than 30 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn today. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic.
When you compare an original LinkedIn home page (shown above left) to one today, it's clear how far the platform has come. In the slides that follow, we look at 10 ways in which LinkedIn has changed and recommend how you can take full advantage of its features.
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.