LinkedIn is a social networking site (SNS) that can be used by anyone; however, it is primarily used by professionals, recent college graduates, and businesses. There are many differences that distinguish LinkedIn from other social networking sites, such as, Facebook and Twitter. For example, age and economic demographics differ from LinkedIn users, as compared to Facebook users. I personally use Facebook and Twitter for fun and entertainment; LinkedIn on the other hand is used more for making business connections.
The setup process is easy but a little more involved than other social networking sites, which typically ask you to create a user name and password.
LinkedIn’s sign-up process involves four main tasks; fill out a simple form on LinkedIn’s home page with your name, email address and desired password. Then you’ll be asked to fill out a profile form that is only slightly longer, asking for your job title, employer’s name and geographic location. You’ll then be asked to confirm your email address by clicking on a link in a message sent to you by LinkedIn.
Finally, you’ll choose whether you want a free or paid account.
The privacy and security settings in LinkedIn are straightforward and simple to use. A few best practices and my current settings are; a strong password, only connect to people I know or want to be connected with, limit the contact information I share in my profile, limit the information in my public profile, utilize LinkedIn’s secure web browsing mode (HTTPS), and ensure that I’ am using the most up-to-date operating system (OS) patches and anti-virus (AV) definitions, the aforementioned steps should minimize the threats to anyone’s computer or Smartphone through LinkedIn.
The reason I incorporate such restrictive privacy and security settings is cost. I use a risk-based analytical approach to everything I do online. If the risk outweighs the benefits, I either don’t take the risk or I minimize the risk as much as possible. While SNS are valuable in many ways, you must take the necessary precautions to minimize your attack surface or you can find yourself a victim of various crimes. LinkedIn is different from Facebook and Twitter, which I primarily use for sharing my thoughts, comments, or ideas with family and friends who live across the country.
LinkedIn is a professional extension of you, similar to a virtual wallet; LinkedIn is your defacto virtual resume, curriculum vitae, or portfolio. However, it incorporates some of the same features other popular SNS uses, such as, private messages, connections (aka friends or followers), and third party apps. I’ve had my LinkedIn account for a few years. I initially created it to promote my small business. It eventually evolved into my own personal e-business card. Overall, I don’t use LinkedIn as much as I use Facebook and Twitter. I probably check my messages or connection request once every three months.
I can see the value in using LinkedIn for professional purposes but I have been slow to adopt it into my every day routine. However, I intend to continue using LinkedIn for communicating with my professional cohorts and I will explore the value of expanding my connections to include businesses or industry affiliations. The companies I researched for this assignment are Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, and SAIC. I researched these companies because I believe I would be a good fit and could bring value to their customers. I also feel a connection to their overall mission and company values which are important to me.
In conclusion, I believe LinkedIn is an invaluable tool, especially in today’s economy and job market. Connections made through LinkedIn have opened doors for countless individuals seeking employment. Also, it has benefitted groups, organizations, and businesses. For example, businesses can advertise, recruit, and vet potential new hires with minimal financial investment. If used properly by a company, LinkedIn can cut cost associated with hiring the wrong person and potentially increase productivity and efficiency in an organization.