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This chapter is from the book

The History of LinkedIn

Here are a few statistics to illustrate the growth of LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn was founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003—within one month, it had 4,500 members.
  • By mid-2011, it had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63% from 2010.8
  • As of December 31, 2011, two professionals were newly signing up to join LinkedIn per second.
  • As of February 9, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, with more than 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories. It is available in 16 languages.9
  • There were more than 2 billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010, and close to double that in 2011.

As you can see in Figure 1.2, which shows what people are searching for in Google, interest in LinkedIn has grown steadily, as has interest in Twitter, while interest in MySpace has plummeted.

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2. As evidenced by Google search data, Twitter has grown to be the most popular of these three social networks, while MySpace’s popularity has plummeted.

LinkedIn is widely regarded as the most professional (the least whimsical, least personal, most formal) of the social networks. People don’t normally put crazy photos on LinkedIn the way they do on Facebook. They are less likely to report what they’re eating than they are on Twitter. LinkedIn is many people’s online resume, and recruiters use it extensively to find viable employees. Many business people use LinkedIn Groups and Answers to network, find, and share facts, develop themselves as professionals, show off their expertise, and secure new business. Some people are thinking ahead about their business futures. As of December 31, 2011, students and recent college graduates were the fastest-growing demographic on LinkedIn. This makes sense because we know Generation Y is bigger than the Boomer Generation, and they continue to move into the workforce.

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