In the one of the biggest social media sales of the century, computer and software giant Microsoft went public with its plans to buy business-based social network LinkedIn. The deal is worth a reported $26.2 billion. As a LinkedIn user I had mixed emotions about the sale.
At first I thought great, Microsoft will make LinkedIn better, but as more details about the deal emerge, I question if change will happen at all. At its inception LinkedIn had a reputation of being the social network where you could meet people from the same professional field, create business contacts and meet a potential employer while showcasing your skills and talent.
Today, LinkedIn is full of users who treat it like Facebook. Stories are posted from around the web that may or may not be relevant to your business life. Marketers and spammers have invaded the LinkedIn space, requesting friendships from countries across the globe in career fields unrelated to the person they are requesting friendship from.
Groups on LinkedIn have a lot of rules and restrictions. Be careful not to invite group members to meet for coffee or drinks to network. Your post might get erased. Professional and personal friends tell me that LinkedIn has become more of an industry standard to show your resume than to actually gain valuable contacts. The site has undergone changes, but its core networking values still exist. I’ve met business friends on LinkedIn and occasionally still make a business friend or two.
Overall LinkedIn still functions great and does the original job it was intended to do. From a business perspective Microsoft will have access to 422 million users including loyal Apple shopping consumers. Will Microsoft make upgrades and much needed changes? Was this deal another buy based on grabbing user analytics and emails with the intention of backdoor sales to the highest bidder? The future is unclear but one things remains, LinkedIn leads the pack in business related social networking. Change will likely come, hopefully for the better.
Cross posted from New York City Wired.