How important is LinkedIn for maintaining an online identity?
I've had a profile in LinkedIn for a couple of years now, but can't say that it has been very helpful. The best I can say is that since a LinkedIn profile is free, the benefits do in fact outweigh the costs.
I hadn't updated my profile in quite some time and was even thinking of dropping it, but somhow today I got inspired and updated my LinkedIn profile to reflect my current situation. It did bother me that my old profile was no longer current, but I just hadn't got to the point of removing myself from the LinkedIn "network."
I actually have run across one useful benefit of LinkedIn: I get notified any time one of my connections updates their profile. I haven't gotten any measurable business benefit from this information, but at least it is interesting and lets me keep up with people with little effort.
My real bottom line is that I have been unable to demonstrate a clear business value to maintaining a profile on LinkedIn, but I still find the service to be at least marginally interesting. I am unable to heartily recommend the service, but I do encourage people who express at least a mild interest.
My ultimate goal is to have a service-independent file format for maintaining professional profiles and to have general-purpose search engines crawl and index these profiles in a service-independent manner. That would provide greater benefits to a larger audience and assure that every minute of effort you put into maintaining your profile would be leveraged to the max.
Meanwhile every service maintains its own proprietary profile. For example, I have a minimal profile here on Blogger.
Can anybody offer me any reason to continue patronizing the LinkedIn service?