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I know plenty of people who are a little sceptical about how long they will remain free users of LinkedIn for. I am not worried. I am of the camp that wonders if LinkedIn get what they need from us without charging. Here’s why…

I met someone at UK Recruiter and APSCo‘s Recruitment Technology showcase recently. As usual it’s a top event.  We started debating the recent changes to LinkedIn and he mentioned that he was waiting for them to press the button on charging everyone for using it. Oh god! I jumped up into my soap box (often necessary as I suffer from small woman syndrome).

I don’t think that LinkedIn will ever charge everyone £$€ for using it… Why?

Because we already pay for it!

Your data is your currency

Without our data LinkedIn is useless. LinkedIn asks you for your book list, your events, your Date of Birth (be careful, there are bad people out there who grab that and become you), where you have worked / work now, what your aspirations are and more. (And I hear people complaining about Facebook users vomiting online – we seem to give more private data away to LinkedIn that Facebook!) Read the average LinkedIn profile. War and peace eat your heart out, and it’s more public!

Clearly I’m not stupid enough to put a hat on ice in case I need to eat it, but I do believe that LinkedIn are rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of us thinking that we’re getting stuff for free! We are genuinely not – our data is priceless. I am of course delighted to use the system – it’s pretty damn good, but I’m sure that it is a two way relationship that we both benefit from me using it for free.

Symbiosis

Learning to dive (or rather wearing regs and learning how to not drown) I learned about the concept of symbiosis…

Cute little fish cleaning big scary fish (who could in fact eat them, but they know which side their bread is buttered!)

The users of the free LinkedIn are the cute pretty fish that clean the bigger fish (LinkedIn).

Don’t worry, be happy

I really feel that LinkedIn will continue to be free – it has to be for it to work. They need your data to sell to those that pay to it.

Use LinkedIn without the worry that it’ll become chargeable. Yes, some things have changed recently that mean that some data is not as easy to get to. Following people like me (other social and recruitment techies are available) will keep you in the loop and help you negotiate the ever changing world of sourcing and lead generation.  But also be aware that you're unlikely to be competitive in future if you only use the free product - social media is worth paying for if you make money from it.

I’m putting my soap box back in the cupboard now.

(By the way, I have the right to change my mind… woman’s prerogative!)

What do you think?  Do you think that one day everyone will have to pay?

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