An increasing number of people have been reaching out to our career coaches and asking, "Is LinkedIn dying?"
This question isn't just coming from job seekers. Recruiters, professionals, and executives alike are frustrated with the platform, wondering if it's really as useful as it claims to be.
Networking is becoming more difficult. When professionals do manage to connect with someone and start a conversation, they'll likely never hear from their connection again after that initial conversation. Recruiters reach out to job seekers all the time, and no one responds.
LinkedIn used to work so well. What happened? What's the point of being on it at all?
LinkedIn Isn't Dying...It's Just Changing
You may think this is a sign that LinkedIn is dying. It's not.
LinkedIn is not dying. It's just changing.
In fact, LinkedIn would tell you it's not. Just looking at it based on user accounts, they now have over 930 million people on the platform. And that number is still growing. The so-called "death" we think we're witnessing with LinkedIn is actually just change. The way people have used it has changed dramatically. You cannot do what you used to be able to do on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has changed, and that's okay.
When LinkedIn first started out, it was a social network. The early adopters loved the platform and used it to its fullest potential. People would connect. They would start conversations. Being on LinkedIn was this amazing experience where people were actually developing relationships with people they never would have developed relationships with otherwise. It truly was a social network.
But that's when it was small.
Now, with mass adoption, the power of the social network has lost its luster. The majority of people on LinkedIn are not using the platform to its fullest potential. So, what does that do to the platform as a whole?
LinkedIn Is No Longer A Social Network
The truth is, LinkedIn is no longer a social network. With 930 million people, it's not a social network. It's a social marketplace.
Anytime something is free, like LinkedIn, you're the product. You're part of what they're selling. That's why LinkedIn is a social marketplace.
Think about it. How does LinkedIn make its money?
Recruiters pay a lot of money to access candidates. Salespeople and businesses pay a lot of money to put their information out in your feed to generate leads. All LinkedIn is today is a very sophisticated yellow pages. As a job seeker, you go there to find businesses, to find companies you want to work for. And when you're a job seeker, you're a business-of-one trying to sell your skills and your services to an employer. LinkedIn is just a place to find businesses, of all shapes and sizes, no matter if you're an actual company or a job candidate.
In the same vein, Facebook is the modern-day white pages. It's free, and what do you use Facebook for? To find people you may know.
LinkedIn is the modern-day yellow pages. Businesses used to pay a premium to advertise in the yellow pages to have a bigger presence. Fast forward to today, and that's all LinkedIn is.
So, you're the product—but there's nothing wrong with that. We're lucky that we have LinkedIn. It's the sophisticated yellow pages that we need, which means every single one of us needs to be on it. We need to have our profiles optimized and we need to understand how it's used.
The networking thing, that's done. There's a reason very few people are connecting and building relationships on there, and it's because people have no skin in the game. The return on the investment is no longer there. Ultimately, it's just a place to put up the webpage for your business-of-one: your profile.
Social Network vs. Social Marketplace
The good news is that you can now create events on LinkedIn. It's free, and it's going to encourage people to start talking to one another and that'll improve the social marketplace situation a little bit, but it's not 100% going to solve the problem.
So if LinkedIn isn't a social network anymore, what is? The platform that follows LinkedIn will completely change the networking game. It'll change the networking game like LinkedIn did so many years ago.
What we need is a new social network where we can connect with people again. LinkedIn doesn't accomplish this anymore because, again, it's not a social network. It's a social marketplace. The new social network for professionals will change the way we network in any career, in any industry, in any skill set, passion, or interest. And it's already here.
LinkedIn is not dying after all. It's just no longer a social network given its size. And yes, you can still reach out and connect with people but don't expect the world. Don't expect everyone to respond to you. Don't expect everyone to talk to you because that's not what it's built to do anymore.
Let's just be grateful that we have it because what it's creating for us in the future will really be something to smile about.
Want to know what comes after LinkedIn?Find out here!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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