LinkedIn starts living up to its name

The social network that specialized in boring users to tears finally makes a move worthy of notice. Good job, guys.

I'm one of the 20 million-plus members of LinkedIn but would be flummoxed for a good answer if you asked me why. The truth is that if I didn't need to keep tabs on what's new and groovy in the tech world, I very much doubt I'd bother.

Why? It's as captivating as a sack of russet potatoes.

The site just doesn't inspire or engage and I have no reason to visit other than to answer requests - usually from perfect strangers--to become "linked in." But reading about the rollout of the beta version of LinkedIn's business directory and I'm intrigued by the idea. To wit:

"Over 150,000 companies and organizations are indexed in the directory, working it into a Hoovers-esque database that ties into LinkedIn's social features.

A LinkedIn Company Profiles page includes a number of basic statistics pulled from BusinessWeek's database, such as company size and history. But for the most part, the rest of the business' page consists of information from employees of that company who have LinkedIn profiles, like a list of "new hires" (LinkedIn members who have recently added a current affiliation with that company) and recent promotions, other businesses that have seen people hired from that company, and demographic tidbits like median age and education information."

Now there's something in it for me, either as a prospective job hunter or simply as someone keen on searching out pertinent data on a company. The social network that specialized in boring users to tears finally makes a move worthy of notice. Good job, guys. More of this and who knows? Maybe one day your CEO--quick, anybody know the name off hand?--will become as much a household name as The Zuckerface.

Tech Culture
About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.


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