LinkedIn: Neglected by the Facebook generation?

“Yeah, I’ve got it but, I don’t really use it.” – The general consensus among my friends and other people ‘my age’ (recent graduates) when I ask them whether or not they use LinkedIn.

Another website with another profile, is that sort of apathy understandable? Should setting up and maintaining a LinkedIn account hold the same level of importance as an individual’s socially sacred and frequently visited Facebook?

In short, yes. (It’s arguably more important for any professional, young or otherwise, to have a well maintained presence on LinkedIn rather than Facebook but I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions).

Last night I was lucky enough to be in the audience for Rob Wilmot’s talk on ‘The Art of LinkedIn’ – An insightful presentation on LinkedIn etiquette, best practice and ‘how-to’, based on his own personal experiences.

The underlying theme of Rob’s talk was how to use LinkedIn to be more than just a list of people you ‘sort-of know’. Now I don’t mind admitting that before Rob’s talk, I was in a state of ‘quiet denial’ about the fact that I wasn’t using LinkedIn to its full potential and that my profile was indeed in danger of being a repository of casual business acquaintances.

My brain set to work during the presentation. While I will now be implementing a lot of what I learnt, I started thinking if LinkedIn (and online networking in general) is regarded by graduates and ‘young professionals’ as unnecessary and ‘for an older generation’. I say this because that’s how I used to feel – I’ve got a business card, why do I need to connect with this person online? I just didn’t get it. I thought LinkedIn was for international business men in pinstripe suits to keep in touch with their ‘network’.

Why did I harbour this perception? I’m not sure. My own naivety certainly contributed but, I may lay some of the ‘blame’ at the feet of my generation – A technology hungry, boastfully savvy, fickle bunch – not afraid to jump ship when the next ‘big thing’ comes along (think myspace).

All eyes now turn to the stock market for LinkedIn’s imminent floatation, as I wonder, will my generation take notice? – Take the time to understand a proven business and networking augmentation tool or – continue to proclaim indifference, choosing instead to spend 140 characters discussing the next big thing.