One of the bigger misconceptions in the comments was that LinkedIn is primarily a job-hunting site. But there are reasons to use LinkedIn even if you have a job you love, aside from the obvious benefits of keeping up on your industry and making connections with potential business partners.
- LinkedIn is a great contact manager. Not all of your contacts will have their phone numbers in their LinkedIn profile (and if you don't, you should add it, according to networking experts), but almost all of them have a Web site and primary email address that you can access. LinkedIn also lets you add notes for each contact, much like a regular address book, so you can keep track of interaction with a contact and add information like best contact phone numbers, birthdays and other information you want to remember.
- LinkedIn Today curates news you care about. Every time I log into LinkedIn I'm presented with three news stories that the site thinks will be of interest to me, based on my industry (tech journalism and higher education). I can click through to LinkedIn today and get more stories, as well as recommendations for additional industries I may be interested in. The stories, in my experience, tend to be more enterprising and more focused on trends than the breaking news that fills my RSS, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
- LinkedIn Groups increase the number of people in my business network. Almost every employment and social media expert I spoke with in compiling last week's post stressed the importance of finding, joining and participating in LinkedIn groups related to your industry. "Join alumni groups, industry groups and professional interest-based groups," said Kelly A. Lux, a social media strategist at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. "Post links of interest to the group, ask and answer questions and search the group members for new connections."