I suspect that your view of the $26bn (£18bn) cash valuation of Linkedin by Microsoft, will depend on whether your a linked in predator or linked in prey.
Linkedin is the Serengeti of the social media world, a (cyber) space where the hunters and the hunted eye each other suspiciously. It is also a fecund space where relationships are born and maintained and for those who know how to use it, a source of considerable commercial advantage.
A semi-regulated wilderness
I will admit to being someone who has and will use Linkedin for commercial advantage. You are most likely reading this article from LinkedIn where I am conspicuous.
Once on linked in , it is virtually impossible to leave. No one has published the number of dead souls amongst its 430m participants, but i know a few of my profiles are deceased, it’s also social media’s Hotel California.
Linked In’s weakness is its revenues. In February 2016 Linkedin’s shares fell43.6% in a single day – wiping $10bn from its valuation as a result of an earnings report.
I use Linkedin as a premium user (there are several more expensive packages), paying extra allows me to annoy more people and be more snoopy, it makes me a super-predator.
I guess those people who are Linkedin to me and reading this, will be reading with disquiet. However there is a limit to my predation. Every now and again I get sent to the Linkedin sin bin for being too predatory and have to lay off sending connections till I have calmed down.
While most people find some mastery of Linked in over time, a high percentage of Linkedin users come once and never again. Numbers of my friends have managed no more than a handful of connections over the years since I introduced them and greet me in real life with “still using linked” and “I don’t know how you find the time”.
In truth, Linkedin saves me a whole load of time. It is my filofax and my messaging system, it’s my social club and my advertising board. It’s where I find out what my competitors are up to and it’s where people find me, to have those discrete conversations that bypass their company’s servers.
It may surprise you, but when UK Regulators want to have an off the record, they often get in touch by Linked In.
And of course there are the Groups, the best of which is of course Pension Play Pen (with its various sun-groups). The biggest groups have more than a quarter of a million members, mine run at 4500 (pension auto enrolment) 7500 (pension playpen) and 500 (Bryanston alumni). Why are they important? Groups are the places where content can best be displayed and (for group leaders) they offer a weekly email to advertise matters of importance (such as the few remaining tickets for Henley aboard Lady Lucy).
Is Linkedin worth it?
To say that Linkedin is worth it depends entirely on you. It is a worthless waste of time to many – including many of my colleagues. It is a fantastic playground – even a hunting ground for others (myself included). It has a few rules but not very many so it is still one of cyberspace’s great wildernesses. But it offers some form of organised chaos through its functionality – such as the groups.
I have no idea where the number $26.7 comes from. I am sure that there are people in Microsoft and Linkedin who can explain it. But frankly its a small price to pay for 430m people if you are a predator, and a ridiculous waste of money if you aren’t.
Your view probably places you on some kind of predatory barometer which someone somewhere is building right now!