A very enlightening report was recently published on Forbes.com in May entitled New Research: 2014 LinkedIn User Trends (And 10 Top Surprises) that I highly recommend for its insights, detail and thoroughness. This professional social and networking sites continues to grow its global use base, services, influence and reputation on a daily basis. The particulars provided within this report about the size ranges of users’ personal networks, the percentages of free versus paid account, the average time users spend on the site, awareness of available feature sets, the utility of special interest groups, and other data points illuminate a truly thriving and extensible services.
What is particularly impressive about format and content of this report is the infographic it contains entitled Portrait of a LinkedIn User 2013 Edition. This expertly limns the who’s who and what’s what of the user base. Moreover, it sets into perspective just how unique LinkedIn is among the other leading social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others.
Having viewed many other infographics online, imho, this one receives an A+ from me for its simple and engaging design which belie such a wealth of useful information. I believe that you will learn much about LinkedIn here while simultaneously viewing a clinic on how to create a highly effective visual representation of data.
The data and graphics presenting a distribution of percentages of the relative sizes of users’ networks immediately grabbed my attention. The largest percentage, 25.2% of the entire user base, of first degree user connections falls between 500 to 999. Okay, I’m in there with my personal network, too. What I would further be interested in knowing is whether dividing the total number of second degree connections by the number of first degree connections, would produce an accurate average number of second degree connections among all of a user’s first degree connections. For example, if I have 100 first degree connections and, in turn, from them 2,000 second degree connections, does that mean that the average number of second degree connections among the first degree connections in my network is equal to 20? If this is a valid number, how can a user apply possibly this figure to advancing the size of his or her network, increase their presence and influence within their network, and assist in business and/or career development?
Another data point I am curious about is whether the degree to which one’s personal network on LinkedIn grows buy itself each day worth examining? That is, if you stop issuing or accepting new invitations to join other personal networks for a period of time, how much does a personal network continue to grow by virtue only of your own first degree connections continuing to send and accept invitations? If, for example, a network will increase its daily second degree connections in this manner by 0.005%, how can a user employ this factor in the same set of questions in the previous paragraph?
Finally, I would like to see some more granular data about networks involving particular professions and job titles. For instance, do attorneys as opposed to web designers have, on average, larger or smaller personal networks? As well, would this evidence direct causation or perhaps just correlation in the data?