We’ve all said it once or twice in our lives: “How in the hell does LinkedIn work?”

For the longest time, for me anyway, it was a digital resume with all the usual ingredients:

  • 1 cup of awful profile photo
  • 3 tbs. of cookie-cutter headline
  • 2 tsp. of boring summary
  • 4 tbs. of past employment
  • 1/3 cup of inflated accomplishments
  • A pinch of measurable numbers to sound great
  • 2 cups of unrelated skills & endorsements

That’s all it was, and my profile sat dormant for months on end.

And then all of a sudden I found myself running my own headshot photography business. I needed a way to engage with other professionals, not only on how to best operate a business, but how to handle a variety of life situations. Plus I wanted to continue growing my local network of connections.

To sum up my LinkedIn post, I walked into the world’s loudest library.

Well Hello Again, LinkedIn

Thanks in part to Andy Foster, a headshot photographer out of Stockholm, Sweden, I discovered an entirely new social platform with LinkedIn:

A platform that offers tons of valuable resources. If you make the right connections, you’re interacting with highly accomplished people without an ounce of college and those who went to Harvard.

A platform that enables me to see inside the minds of today’s experts. These are people willing to share everything they’ve learned to help someone else. Pay it forward!

A platform that puts some of the world’s most creative people right in front of me. They’re right there, at your fingertips. And they are itching to help you grow.

A platform that spurs engagement and conversation. I’ve never had a post on Facebook or Instagram stretch as far as I have on LinkedIn with regards to audience participation. People want to have educated discourse about whatever it is that’s on your mind.

A platform that allows me to connect with incredible people willing to share their experiences. It goes back to people sharing everything they’ve learned in their careers. What someone does in one industry could be game-changing in another.

A platform that teaches me that I am not alone. I know I’m not alone in the entrepreneur space, but the outreach is incredible when you speak your mind. Speak up and get something in return.

A platform that lets us have a voice – our voice. Write what’s on your mind. I had a post the other day that talked about being introverted and how networking is slightly nauseating at times. At least it used to be.

A platform that brings together perspectives from every corner of the planet. I’ve gotten great advice from people in New York, Chicago, the United Kingdom and from India. Fresh perspectives.

A platform that promotes learning and growth. It’s all there, for free! All you have to do is be willing to speak up and spur some conversation.

A platform that encourages content sharing that strikes a chord with one or many. My post on introverts networking led me to get several messages in my inbox from others who found the topic profound. Wait, I brought up something profound? Introverts and networking are nothing new, but there is that perspective thing again.

Let’s Connect

Every social media network has its plusses and minuses. Each platform offers a different benefit that another one does not. LinkedIn is far from perfect (especially from a technical standpoint). But the LinkedIn I rediscovered is a breath of fresh air compared to the smoggy mess that often pollutes my other social media feeds. I am looking forward to where they will take it in the future.

If you’d like to connect, pop over to my profile and let’s engage. And don’t forget to check out the rest of my website at www.ianjohns.com.