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"Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $26.2 billion." That was Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.52.35 AMthe announcement from officials at both companies on June 13, 2016.

(The graphics shared in this article come from the official Slideshare announcement of the acquisition from the companies.)

Since that date, hundreds of people have asked me what I think about the news and how it might impact them. Rather than immediately speculate on what this will mean for shareholders, the two companies, other social media sites, and especially you, the LinkedIn member, I wanted to take a little time Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.28.22 AMto read, absorb, and kick it around in my 58-year-old brain.

Rather than share a typical, crystal-ball prediction--and there are plenty of those floating around--it seems more helpful to outline the important ways LinkedIn has impacted the way we do business and the skills we've acquired that will propel our businesses and careers going forward--regardless of the structure and ownership of LinkedIn.
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Reliable, worldwide database of business professionals

Before LinkedIn, we paid big money to gain access to professional databases, and many times they were outdated and unreliable. Of course, Linked changed all that, and most of the information is free and up to date.

That being said, if LinkedIn goes away or seriously diminishes the power of this mostly free database, I'm quite confident another platform will fill the void.
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Virtual networking for business purposes

Think back to when you firstScreen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.55.43 AM joined LinkedIn. It undoubtedly felt a little weird to virtually connect with people you already knew and especially those you didn't know. Now successful users find new people on LinkedIn nearly every day and attempt to begin a relationship with them either by inviting them to join their LinkedIn network or gathering information from their profile and reaching out by using more traditional methods--phone, email, personal meeting, etc.
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Worldwide access to your professional resume on steroids (LinkedIn profile) 

Next time you use the Who's Viewed Your Profile feature to see who's been checking you out, remind yourself that prior to LinkedIn there was no one place where people could see just what makes you tick, what you sell, why you are a qualified expert, or the many other reasons why you'd be the perfect fit for their problem, issue or opportunity. In other words, LinkedIn has become an essential part of how we do business.

Professional career development and recruiting

I said I wasn't going to make predictions, but I can't help but think the days of  traditional job postings may come to an end, because LinkedIn and other social sites enable recruiters and companies to laser-focus their search for qualified candidates.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.49.42 AMWhether you're currently looking for a new job or not, you owe it to yourself to connect and communicate with people and companies who can help you improve your career now and in the future.

An engaging profile will cause recruiters and companies to reach out to you whether you're in job-search mode or not. Don't let a stale, uninteresting profile cause you to miss out on a great opportunity.
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New way to market yourself

Traditional forms of corporate marketing are sometimes viewed as intrusive, but today's professionals welcome helpful information from people they know and trust.Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.54.05 AM

The ever-expanding arsenal of LinkedIn tools--like status updates, published posts, direct messaging, group discussions--provides a very cost-effective way to build your personal and corporate brand with your target audience.
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The future of LinkedIn

As a result of Microsoft's purchase, I'm hopeful that LinkedIn will become even more useful for today's professional. But whatever happens, the knowledge you've gained from using LinkedIn will certainly result in improved business and career success and be useful with new platforms as well as current social media sites.

And of this you can be sure--I'll be your trusted companion as we watch things unfold and continue to find new ways to improve our businesses and careers.