• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Is LinkedIn Worthwhile to You?

I’m a “late adopter.” I used to be an early adopter, but that was between 1985 and 1995. I got my first Mac in 1985–the “Fat Mac,” the big one, the one with 512K of RAM instead of the original 128K. And I was the first PhD student at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago to petition to write my comprehensive examinations on a personal computer. I was turned down, of course: the committee was worried, in those early days, that I would bring in a library via floppy disks. Instead, they left me alone in a room for four hours, on each of five days, during which I could have simply carried in dozens of books and notepads without anyone noticing…. The next student who asked, of course, was allowed to do so. Yes, I was a groundbreaking, trail-blazing pioneer in those olden days, sonny.

But a decade of trying to keep up with technological changes that weren’t always for the better, at least not for me, soured me on perpetually lusting after The Next Next Thing. So I’ve hung back, needing to be convinced of new ways to spend time typing on a keyboard.

My sons first prompted me to get on Facebook, so I am, and I enjoy seeing photos of friends here and there (my main use of it). One of my former students convinced me to start a weblog, and I’ve enjoyed that a lot. Friends of Len Sweet talked me into Tweeting a year ago, and I’ve enjoyed that, too, although my followers are few (but of exceedingly high quality, I’m sure): @jgsphd.

Now I’ve finally succumbed to LinkedIn, since lots of people I like and respect are on it–and I’m so easily led. I’ve caught up with the several dozen invitations I’ve been sent over the last while. But I’m not at all sure what the point of it would be for a bloke like me.

So what do you use LinkedIn for? Has it helped you much, or at all? Could it be useful to people like me, or is it really a business-0riented application?