Linkedin: A Short Historical Review

This timeline presents the pivotal events that marked the evolution of LinkedIn as a social business tool.

It is difficult to believe that, as of October 2014, LinkedIn is really only 10 years old, slightly older than Facebook. LinkedIn is a social media site developed specifically for the purposes of professional networking, job searching and personal or commercial branding. This is a free application with the option of having a paid subscription for more features.

2002-12-01 12:22:31


No one would dispute that technology has evolved, non-stop, over the last 20 years. As just one example, social media has taken root in our everyday lives in the past 10 years. And sometime in the last 5 years, there has been a more ambitious trend toward on-line platforms such as cloud computing, open source software, and software as a service. LinkedIn falls in both categories of social media and open source technology.

2002-12-14 11:51:51


Slightly older in age than Facebook, LinkedIn is a now a veritable social media powerhouse enjoyed by ambitious junior employees to senior executives alike. In this timeline, our attention will focus on LinkedIn and the pivotal events that helped grow it from having 20 members to the more than 300 million it has today. (Ref: LinkedIn Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results. Press release retrieved on October 6, 2014 from

2002-12-28 12:22:31

Founder: Reid Hoffman

We start out timeline with the founding of LinkedIn by Reid Hoffman. In the latter part of 2002. Reid recruited some old colleagues to work on this new idea for a business/socializing site. Who exactly is Reid Hoffman? Mr. Hoffman holds a B.Sc. in symbolic systems and cognitive science. He is a former Apple and Fujitsu product manager. (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 from His biography is fascinating). Exerpts of his upbringing, his education and other influences that shaped him which can be seen at

2003-05-01 12:22:31

LinkedIn is launched

The platform was built in six phases leading up to the launch. Six months after meeting in the founder's apartment, LinkedIn went live (10 members at launch). (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 at

2003-05-29 12:22:31

Growth is slow

In the first few months after the launch, growth on LinkedIn may have been slower than anticipated. It is rumoured, although not substantiated, that there were 20 or fewer signups on some days in the first weeks. (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 from

2003-12-31 12:22:31

Approaching 100K Members

By the end 2003, LinkedIn had 81000 members and 14 employees. (Ref: CTN Consulting slide presentation accessed on October 6, 2014 from

2004-03-01 12:22:31

Cowboy Culture?

An experimental mindset seems to have defined the LinkedIn culture, since the early days. The founders began to experiment with information and communications platforms (e.g. InMaps, slideshare and Pulse) as well as revenue-generating ideas (e.g. premium memberships, InMails). The platforms are not covered in this timeline but can be viewed by clicking the link and watching videos at LinkedIn 101 -- Learning Webinar (July Recording - see link below)

2004-04-01 12:22:31

Half a Million Members

CTN consulting, a firm that advises clients on social media strategies and web-based applications, cites LinkedIn as having 500 000 members by April 2004. (Ref: CTN Consulting slide presentation accessed on October 6, 2014 from

2004-12-31 12:22:31

Growth picks up

As per CTN consulting, there were 1.6 million members and 33 employees at LinkedIn by the end of 2004. Naysayers or skeptics can't help but take notice. (Ref: CTN Consulting slide presentation accessed on October 6, 2014 at Despite the obvious convenience of an on-line curriculum vitae, paper-based résumés are still ever-present and requested of job applicants.

2005-03-01 12:22:31

"LinkedIn Jobs"

By March 2005, another new feature would change the habits of business folk and job seekers. (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 at "LinkedIn Jobs" would prove to be a popular feature and would begin a slow decline in the demand for executive recruitment and head hunting services in North America.

2005-12-31 11:51:51

This Ain't Going Away

By then end of 2005, LinkedIn has 4 million members. (Ref: CTN Consulting slide presentation accessed on October 6, 2014 from

2006-01-01 12:22:31

LinkedIn Recommendations

Popular features such as “recommendations” and “people you know” began to appear in 2006. (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 at Some Ed Tech professors have been critical of the "recommendations" concept. The author of this timeline partially agrees, much preferring traditional, private and exclusive recommendations. The author may revisit that decision in 2015.

2008-02-01 12:22:31

Mobile Networking

To adapt to a changing economy, the arrival of Blackberries (and smart phones) and the inevitable popularity of mobile computing, Linked launched a mobile version of their site in February 2008. (Ref: information accessed on October 6, 2014, at This author has noticed that more than half of all listings in "Who has Viewed Your Profile" are now coming from mobile users.

2008-12-31 12:22:31

End of 2008

At the end of 2008, there were 33 million members. (Ref: CTN Consulting slide presentation accessed on October 6, 2014 at

2010-12-31 12:22:31


A 2010 milestone was the membership of 90 million. (Ref: Information accessed on October 6, 2014 at

2013-05-01 12:22:31

Linkedin Turns 10 !

Ref: information accessed on October 6, 2014 at

2014-07-31 12:22:31

Most Recent Membership Stats

As per Linkedin, current membership is over 300 million in number. As a point of comparison, National Geographic estimates the 2014 world population at 7 billion. Ref: Dimick, D. As World’s Population Booms, Will its Resources Be Enough for Us? National Geographic. Accessed on October 6, 2014 at

2014-09-01 12:22:31

Are paper-based CVs dead?

Paper-based résumés are still being requested by prospective employers but less and less frequently. The author of this timeline went on formal job interviews with different delegates at three International companies in the summer of 2014 and only once was a CV requested. The author recalls being somewhat off-put by the need to submit an old-fashioned PDF document to a major, worldwide technology company.

2014-10-05 12:22:31

Reaching into China

Social media has traditionally found it more difficult to penetrate China. (Ref: Mozur, P and V. Goel. (2014, October 5). To reach China, LinkedIn plays by local rules. New York Times. Accessed online on October 6, 2014)

2014-10-06 12:22:31

Is Everyone on LinkedIn?

We conclude this timeline by making a personal observation that not everyone has a LinkedIn profile. This author has at least one 40-something year old corporate client who is not yet on LinkedIn.

Linkedin: A Short Historical Review

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