Is it worth it ?: One month as a premium LinkedIn user | Digital Trends Spanish
A few years ago, I signed up for LinkedIn Premium. I did it almost out of exhaustion, after receiving the umpteenth email inviting me to take advantage of the platform in a free trial. So, curious to know if the wonder was so real or not, I put in the credit card – still required for the trial month – and entered the mysterious and fascinating world of LinkedIn Premium.
While the idea was to just be there for the trial month, the initial 30 days turned into 60 because, obviously, I forgot to cancel the automatic renewal and they billed me the following month. And the experience was something curious, especially for those of us who never went beyond the free version.
LinkedIn, the professional “social network”
LinkedIn was born in the first days of May of the year 2003; back then, a group of PayPal founders thought it would be a good idea to create a platform that would allow networking and networks between professionals.
LinkedIn is colloquially spoken of as a “social network for professionals”, but the truth is that it was never really considered as such. It should be remembered that in 2003, social networks in the modern format did not exist; Facebook was just an idea in the minds of the Winklevoss brothers. Instead, what Reid Hoffmann and his colleagues wanted was for the professional world to connect on a central platform, whether that be uploading their CVs, networking with other professionals or co-workers, and eventually finding a new job.
In that sense, LinkedIn did not have its origins in frivolity, like Facebook or Fotolog (to name a couple). And mainly, because its founders were not university students but people with experiences in investment funds and technology companies such as PayPal or Google.
But despite that expertise, the first year LinkedIn didn’t have a very big impact. By the end of 2003, the platform had just 250 members, many of whom were there as contacts and friends of the founders. However, this would soon change thanks to a significant collection that increased the functionality of the site and broke the stagnation of the first year: in mid-2004, LinkedIn had 1 million members in total.
From the mid-2000s onwards, the platform’s growth remained constant, thanks to new investment flows that allowed it to expand into more languages other than English. More importantly, and unlike other social platforms that mutated along the way, LinkedIn never seemed to lose its focus on the professional user: if members are there to find jobs and make connections, no one would have the luxury of vandalize the platform and look little serious in front of the rest.
LinkedIn is currently a monster with 20,000 employees and 740 million members. And in 2016, Microsoft paid $ 26 billion for the company, in the largest acquisition the makers of Windows have made in their history.
Today, a good part of those who have a professional career are on LinkedIn, using its free version. But the question is: how useful is it to jump in and pay for LinkedIn Premium?
The Premium experience
I can’t remember exactly how my LinkedIn interactions changed once I became a paid user (at the bottom, but premium nonetheless), but I still have the notification emails that reached me – apparently a lot more people were viewing my profile.
And not only could I know who each of them were, but I also had a more detailed report of what they did, where they worked, and so on. Besides, there was the option of sending messages to people who were not in my network of contacts; option that I did not use, by the way, until one day I was contacted by a headhunter.
Perhaps for many professionals who use LinkedIn on a daily basis, having these types of interactions is normal. But I had only been a “paid” user for a few days and I was already on the radar of a company that needed someone with my profile. Over the next several weeks, I went through a couple of interviews and even visited the premises of my potential future workplace. The story, of course, did not have a happy ending: I was told that the vacancy had been left empty, but that there were some similar opportunities on the way and that they would contact me again soon.
In the middle of that walk through various interviews, I forgot to cancel the trial month, so I was charged for the next 30 days. And this is when I realized that LinkedIn, as a good network for professionals, is expensive: the $ 10 of Netflix or Amazon Prime seems nothing next to the $ 30 that the cheapest premium membership of the platform costs.
After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that it wasn’t worth paying for premium anymore. LinkedIn did not seem like a very interesting place to me in terms of interacting with other people (this may be due to my low ambition in the professional world) and at that time I already had a stable job, so I did not really need to look for a new one. In addition, there is a certain irony in being a very good platform to find a job, as well as something expensive for those who just don’t have it and do need it urgently.
Needless to say, I have not reactivated LinkedIn Premium since then and no one has ever contacted again from there; hopefully a few see my profile (and they surely rip off instantly). Could it have been a coincidence? Sincerely I dont know.