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LinkedIn – A (Professional) Social Network

Once a Running Joke, LinkedIn Is Suddenly a Hot Social Network. Here’s What Changed

This article talks about how LinkedIn has been rising in popularity recently, opening with the fact that Microsoft acquired it for $26 billion. This came to a surprise to many, as LinkedIn is not what most people immediately think of when they hear the term “social network.” Especially after the 2010 film “The Social Network” came out, Facebook has been one of the most prominent social networks online, alongside others like Twitter. This article refers to LinkedIn as “the polite social network,” signaling that there may be a change in the way many people think of an “online social network” in the future.

Even though LinkedIn was founded in 2002 (2 years before Facebook), it has not been as widely popular. LinkedIn focuses on professional personas, with user profiles built around academic and work experience as opposed to wedding photos or posts about brunch with your best friend. That being said, LinkedIn still maintains a lot of data about its users, including comments, likes, shares, and follows. Its business focus also allows it to minimize the amount of spam. The article admits that “LinkedIn will never match Facebook for volume, Twitter for notoriety, YouTube for eyeballs, and Instagram or Snapchat for fun,” but that its more focused approach allows for better searches and more focused advertisements.

In one of our first lectures in this class, the immediate suggestion for an example of social networks was of friendships and enemies. But perhaps if LinkedIn continues to grow and merge with Microsoft (it would be quite useful in Microsoft Outlook for companies), our perception of “social networks” may begin to change as well.

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