Obama, Linking In Ahead of the Curve
Obama is getting linked in.
Today, Sen. Barack Obama became the first candidate to have a group on LinkedIn, the popular social networking site for working professionals. In a way, LinkedIn is the anti-MySpace. It's your online professional presense -- not a place for half-naked photos, endless riffs on Britney Spears or other musings bordering on TMI (too much information). The site has 14 million users, more than half of them in the U.S. The users' average household income is $139,000, said Kay Luo, the company's spokeswoman said, and about 75 percent are ages 29 and over. In other words, it's highly desirable demographic.
So far, Obama is one of two candidates -- Rudy Giuliani being the other -- with a LinkedIn profile. Obama's profile boasts his relatively short but nonetheless impressive resume: senior lecturer of law at University of Chicago Law School, state senator at Illinois State Senate, U.S. Senator. There's a link to his campaign site and to the page of his LinkedIn group. On the page, where users can grab a "digital bumpersticker" for their profiles, Obama touts his unique background: "I was fortunate to be able to grow up seeing America from varied viewpoints. My childhood was spent in Hawaii and Indonesia. After college I worked as a community organizer in the South side of Chicago focusing on improving living conditions in poor neighborhoods."
LinkedIn has an "Answers" feature, where users post questions such as "Can you recommend an individual or firm that specializes in PowerPoint design and language" and "What are your best tactics for landing new clients?" Early today Obama posted this question: "How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?" As of 11 a.m. EST, he's received 330 answers. One answer came from David Dykstra, district manager at Mosaic Sales Solutions in Michigan: "Do the best you possibly can to get out of our way, and remove any blocks that you can that keep us from achieving success. And remember, it's the small businesses in this country that make the economy work, not the huge corporations."
Said Steve Spinner, a Bay Area entrepreneur who's on Obama's national finance committee and serves as the senator's link to Silicon Valley: "The campaign takes pride in being on the cutting edge of technology."
-- Jose Antonio Vargas
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