I participated in the first half of a session on the power of LinkedIn for training industry professionals this past Friday. The session was delivered by Tony Karrer of eLearning Technology blog, and Mark Sylvester. Alas, I did not get to stay for the entire hour, but the polls that Mark ran revealed some interesting results. About two-thirds of the audience was using LinkedIn to varying degrees, and the other third was not. This seems to confirm at a high level at least that LI is becoming more relevant for training professionals. Most of the respondents had between 0 and 100 connections, and about 33% (of which I can include myself, but just barely) have between 100 and 500 connections.
I have used LI to link to most professionals I know and have worked for or with, and to find the odd high school classmate. I just recently passed the 100 connection point, and I want to expand further, but I do know a great many people that do not use LI at all still. But even my recent increased utilization of LI has been tempered by other activities. I would like to continue growing my use of LI, but do not have the time at present.
And this gets to a central question about LI: Is filling out a profile on something like LI worth the time and effort yet? What have been the results for individuals? Has LI generated job leads? Have offers been made because Person Y had an LI profile whereas another did not? If Person Y and Person Z both have profiles, can it be assumed that the completeness of one's profile over anothers is a major determining factor? Based on a recent anecdote from a former coworker and engineer, LI is gaining prominence. At this point, there certainly is no downside to having an LI profile, and it allows prospective employers a way to verify your individual credibility and references through recommendations, for example.
There are many unknowns, and I have more research to do.