Today marks LinkedIn’s seventh birthday (siete años on Cinco de Mayo), making it older than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even relative relic MySpace.

Happy birthday, LinkedIn.  Now let me tell you why I hate you.

  1. I already have an active Facebook and Twitter account. What I do not have is lots of spare time to dedicate to another social media application.
  2. Trolls. On Twitter, I’m delighted to get a follower who I do not know.  It pleases my ego that someone wants to read 140 characters of my innermost thoughts.  But on LinkedIn, I’m unnerved by strangers looking to connect (and more often than not, sell me something).
  3. I am not in the job market. (Though I freely acknowledge this is a down economy and could change at any moment, in which case I would be championing LinkedIn.)

But don’t despair, LinkedIn.  There is a silver lining.  I’m willing to entertain the possibility that I may be wrong about you.

For starters, LinkedIn is valued at $1.3 billion.  Considering that I’m worth decidedly less, it seemed only fair that I spend some time determining what it is that’s so great about LinkedIn.  After all, it was just last week that I came around to the value of Twitter.  I’m nothing if not malleable when it comes to social media.

It turns out, there are some compelling benefits.

  1. Referrals. I’ve often found myself searching for vendors with no prior knowledge of the field.  Typically, I’ve sough referrals from people I know and trust.  LinkedIn performs that function, helping me find good vendors, and, even better, allowing prospective clients to find my company.
  2. Increased Visibility. LinkedIn is typically on the first page of my Google search results if I’m looking up an industry, company or person.  If LinkedIn boosts my website’s PageRank, I’m interested.
  3. Recruitment. I want the firm I work for to be successful, and that takes the best talent.  LinkedIn can help find and compare talent, as well as tell you if there are mutual connections.

Ultimately, I’m not sure these benefits are enough to make me a believer, but they’re enough to make me want to keep my profile active and updated.

What do you think?  LinkedIn has more than 50 million users, so please post a comment and tell me why I’m wrong.  My opinion is fluid.

Posted by Katie Denis, Account Executive