LinkedIn provides a mechanism to keep tabs on contacts that you make during your career. A friend of mine who I had worked with for nearly 6 years introduced me to the site by requesting I accept being added as a contact.
Initially, I thought that this was simply another site like FaceBook or MySpace, however it isn't. Users of the site are able to list their current company information, title, amount of time in each position within a company (or multiple companies), and even flag your account if you are looking for a new job.
My network is fairly large now, and continues to grow. Contacts that I have made over the years, both internal to my employer as well as external business partners, are part of my contact list. It allows me to keep track of my relationships with these contacts, even after they move to different companies. I've heard that it is not always what your skills are but who you know that moves you up the corporate ladder, and this tool allows people to keep track of those influential individuals.
LinkedIn has recently added additional functionality (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/20/linkedin-now-for-companies-2/) allowing company profiles to also be displayed on the site, creating a 'fact sheet' of sorts.
The question, however, is would tools like LinkedIn actually benefit companies, or is it an avenue for head hunters to get talent from competing companies? A company could find employees that work for them on such tools, look at their contact lists, and attempt to get them to come to the other company. What do you think? Should companies fear such sites, or does the benefit of business-class social networking assisting their employees outweigh such concerns?
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