Why not listening to good music while reading? My inspiration for this article is Around the World – Daft Punk. Play it now!
What would you do if you had to look for a job right now? You would probably work on your CV, subscribe to specific job-searching websites to create an online version and make the most of social networks, especially LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional social network created in 2003 which has over 546 million members in more than 200 countries. It plays such a key role in people’s professional life that some people do not bother with creating a classic CV anymore. Taking this into account, one can easily wonder: has LinkedIn become the CV of the world?
The power of LinkedIn
Evolution of LinkedIn
One of the main reasons we can consider LinkedIn as “the CV of the world” is its evolution. Five years after its creation, it launched a global strategy by introducing Spanish and French versions of the website. In 2010, it counted 90 million members. In 2013, 2 new members subscribed per second and more than 225 million people were active on the network. Today, with its 546 million members and availability in 24 languages, it is the biggest professional network in the world. People around the world can exchange and look for professional opportunities worldwide – even in China where other social media such as Facebook are prohibited.
Evolution of the number of LinkedIn’s members – Author: J.C. – Source: Statista 2019
With LinkedIn, people are not only judged on their competencies anymore. With LinkedIn, social abilities are now integrated into the CV and become crucial to show who you really are. With LinkedIn, you are not limited by one page, the tone used can be informal, you can present your information as you wish and you can add content, links and media (photos and videos). It is the perfect professional tool for someone who needs to demonstrate her/his creativity and for those who want to present an authentic persona.
In 2016, Microsoft bought out LinkedIn. Together, they launched Resume Assistant, a new tool in Word that helps people conceive better CVs thanks to similar LinkedIn profiles. It can either suggest work experience descriptions or skills and competencies to match a particular job offer.
Why is it a strength for LinkedIn? To use Resume Assistant, people do not need a LinkedIn profile but simply a Microsoft 365 subscription. In other words, the social network found a way to reach the few who decided not to use its platform. It found a way to collect their data and connect it to others’. So far it is only available in a few select countries but if the concept works, the entire world may be concerned very soon.
Learn more about the partnership by watching this video:
Still a long way to go
LinkedIn might be powerful but it seems to be evolving without taking into consideration some important facts.
Do not forget the discrimination debate
To be successful on LinkedIn, it is mandatory to put a picture of yourself and give your real name; the exact opposite of what is recommended to avoid discrimination. Other criteria to remove are nationality and birth date. A study conducted by O. Aslund and O. Skans in 2017 named Do anonymous job application procedures level the playing field?, reached the following conclusion: “women and ethnic minorities, who are disadvantaged elsewhere in the economy, do not experience a penalty in the interview selection stage when applying to jobs using AAP (Anonymous Application Procedure)”. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that some people may choose to not be part of the LinkedIn mania. The social network will have to consider the discrimination debate if it does not want it to become an obstacle to its growth.
Access to the Internet is still a dilemma
As explained before, LinkedIn wishes to gather all universities, workers, companies of the world on its platform thanks to the economic graph. But how does the company expect to achieve this when many countries are still very far from having a complete access to the Internet? The last digital report by We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that 57% of the world population are Internet users and 45% are social media users. Reading the numbers the other way round: 43% of the world population do not have access to the Internet and 55% are not on social networks. It is clearly not enough for LinkedIn to reach its economic graph objective.
South Africa – Author: J.C.
South Africa – Author: J.C.
LinkedIn is a powerful professional network. Spread worldwide, it is definitely becoming the first tool used by people around the globe to find their next professional network. Nevertheless, it has to be aware of the world’s reality and take it into consideration to be sure to meet its expectations.
So, has LinkedIn become the CV of the world? Hard to say yes for now even though it seems quite right to say that LinkedIn is becomingthe CV of the world.
If you are interested in the subject, here is another article (in French!) you might like, published by Visionary Marketing: https://bit.ly/2XuNprH
Twitter is often the battleground of choice for activist campaigns. Its character limit encourages the use of brief, poignant messages. The format allows them to be understandable and potentially highly shared. Anyone can easily follow a movement’s twitter stream and decide how actively they want to engage with it.
Much like her, many have taken to the web to grow their networks and make themselves heard. The rapid spread of social platforms has produced a generation keen on sharing and engaging both online and offline. When done positively and in a polite manner, these can be great boosts to your digital footprint… but what about the less savoury comments?
FROM DISCUSSION TO DISRUPTION: ONLINE HARASSMENT
Every good has evil and our use of the internet is no exception. How many times have you seen a nasty comment from a nondescript user with a blank avatar? Just like any positive engagement, negative comments and heated emails also have an impact on our digital footprint.
Comedian John Oliver referred to the internet as a “haven for harassment” in a video he published 4 years ago. Sadly, the concepts he highlights behind a wall of satire and sarcasm are still very relevant today. Oliver points out how we all experience the internet differently, and how women tend to become targets of online harassment. He highlights how the police – a public service meant to enforce the law and keep civilians safe – was unable to guarantee these women’s’ safety in these situations.
I do recommend that people watch John Oliver’s videos, as he makes great points on a variety of subjects. However, I will include a warning for strong language and adult content.
PASSIVE AND ACTIVE DATA
I’ve mentioned the good and I’ve mentioned the bad, but how does this all link to digital footprints? Both examples I’ve given are active elements that shape our unique footprint. So, what makes up the passive part of the footprint? That would be all the browsing and clicking that we do. This information is usually collected without us knowing. It is not publicly available, but it can be valuable to companies for targeted marketing purposes.
But what is relevant to companies can also be relevant to criminals, who can piece together a shockingly comprehensive profile purely based on this footprint we all leave behind. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to fraud and identity theft. In a less extreme case, but just as damaging, it could become your professional undoing.
OUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT, OUR RESPONSIBILITY
Quoting John Oliver again: the internet is an incredible tool, but like most tools, it can also be used as a weapon. As users, we should be striving to have a positive impact in the world around us and to keep our footprint as clean as possible. We live in a world where anyone who wants it could potentially access our data for a fee. Being mindful of our online behaviours should be common decency and common sense.
There are quite a few areas that I would have loved to expand on, which will have to be covered in later posts. I focused on the more positive aspects of social media and digital activism without touching on the dangers that come along with it. Likewise, I briefly touched on online harassment, when I could say so much more about the topic.
What would you want to read about next? Please do comment below or tweet your thoughts to me at @jokelogic.
There are 7,659,785,014 of humans beings on earth at the time I am writing these lines. More than 5 billon of them own a mobile phone connection (GSMA data). That is more than 67% of the entire population of the globe, and the number continues to grow. By the end of the decade, according to GSMA, we will reach 5.7 billion of connected users!
Talking about the internet access, more than 4 billons of people have an internet connection.
If the question was: does the digital transformation impact everybody?
Then the answer can be obtained by simply looking at the figures mentioned in the introduction.
Are we all using the internet in the same way?
But if we take the social demographics rules into account, the answer changes.
Does the digital transformation affect a 70-year-old woman in Ethiopia the same way it affects a 9-year-old boy in France?
The entire world population can be divided by social demographics rules, and that is what I am interested in.
Regarding the differences between the countries, it seems that some countries are more connected than others, and they are not using internet the same way.
The main example is WeChat in China. This app reached 1 billion users in 2018 according to an article from Rayna Hollander for Business Insider. WeChat is mainly used in China, and it is a real Swiss knife for the Chinese. They use it to pay, to transfer money to friends, to order a cab, and also to do e-commerce and to set up their own business. WeChat is the example, but the Chinese are definitely one step ahead in terms of digitalization and they use it for everything.
While Chinese are using it for daily basis needs, countries like Philippines or Brazil use the internet mainly for social media.
A wifi sign in the China Countryside
Western countries don’t rank very high when it comes to spending time on the internet. According to reports by “Hootsuite” and “We are social”, the first western country that appears on the ranking is Portugal in the 19th place.
It seems that the digitalization impacts everybody, but that its use worldwide is different.
One common point : communication
There is still one common major feature between the 4 billion who have an internet connection. It is the ability of using the internet to communicate with each other. Across the globe. Because it is finally what it is all about.
Alex Clarks, in his article for the Guardian, gave few interesting examples. He mentions in his article the way mobile phone changed the distribution of music in Mali, where the entire album “music from Saharan cellphones” has been shared via Bluetooth.
As Alex Clarks explained, this allows him to listen, from his flat in London, this kind of music.
To wrap it up, let me give you the reason behind my questioning
I am writing these lines from Laos, and I can’t explain how I surprised I am to see, in one of the poorest countries in the world,the sheer amount of smartphone with internet connection.
I took a picture with one of the locals. About a minute later, he airdropped me the photo. We were both happy.
Here is the common point.
Interacting with people is the backbone of digitalization, but what we do with it seems to depend on the cultural and social rules of where we are.
Today, shopping is installing itself as a growing activity during our spare time. It is commonly linked to window shopping in malls, but more and more we observe this behavior through e-commerce.
Wish, created in 2011 by Peter Szulczewski and Danny Zhang, (respectively ex-Google and Yahoo employees) is now one of the biggest actors of online shopping, competing directly with big companies such as Amazon or AliExpress. Their motto: make your shopping smarter, fun, and rewarding. The Wish app is now valorized to 10 milliards dollars. It’s the first app downloaded in more than 40 countries and gathering more than 300 million daily users.
Sources: Wish on craft.com (https://craft.co/wish-contextlogic)
AN EASY STOCK MANAGEMENT
Wish’s model is simple: it is all based on being an intermediary between big retailers that are producing a lot and users with a low income. This allows to avoid stock management and to offer the lowest prices on the market.
What do Airbnb, Uber, and the neobank ‘N26’ have in common?
You’d be correct if you answered “they’re all digital platforms”, yet they are actually more than that.
Airbnb revolutionized the hospitality and tourism sector by creating a platform where travelers choose accommodation that homeowners rent out for very competitive prices. Until not long ago, Airbnb has started offering tourism experiences and excursions done by locals of the country you’re visiting. (1) On the other hand, Uber offers peer-to-peer (P2P) ridesharing services, where both drivers and riders are put in contact via their app. (2)
However, the most important aspect about both companies is that all their financial transactions are done through their platforms, via their respective mobile applications. There is no physical cash exchange between the two parties using their services, which leads me to our next point: neobanks, like ‘N26’ that is based in Berlin, Germany. Launched in 2013, N26 accounts for over 500 employees, 1.5 million customers, and 215 million US dollars invested (11).
What are neobanks?
First and foremost, neobanks are not to be confused with other mobile applications who are merely an interface between traditional banks and their clients, that make financing and account managing user-friendly. The Seattle Times business journalist Robert Barba warns “it is important to know that neobanks are usually not banks: They do not have charters from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or state regulators, and they do not have coverage from Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)’’ (10).
Their definition, as explained in (BBVA) Bilbao Bank’s research paper (3), is that they are a digital substitute for traditional banking institutions. Therefore, what we call a ‘banking experience’ will only be experienced through mobile applications or other digital platforms. Robert Barba further explains “they work with specialty banks that are chartered to gain FDIC coverage for deposits created at neobanks, and provide prepaid cards in place of conventional debit cards.” (10)
For example, the way you would add money into your N26 account differs whether you live in Germany or not. If it’s the case, the app has a “+” button that enables you to enter to sum you’d like to add to your account. The app will then generate a barcode relative to that specific amount that you will scan and pay for in cash at the nearest branch (8). If you live anywhere else and have an N26 account, you may transfer the required amount of money by entering the IBAN number of an account you have in a traditional bank.
Until recently, neobanks’ biggest challenge was obtaining a banking license, however, with some governments -like the UK for example, having simplified the process, their numbers are now on the rise.
In fact, according to a study of variant market research (5), the compound annual growth rate is expected to significantly increase between the years 2017 and 2025.
The reason behind this trend is what most neobanks currently offer in comparison to regular banking institutions.
What do neobanks offer?
In an article written by Sia Consulting (6), those virtual banking institutions propose an array of benefits like being able to open a bank account in a 3 to 10 minutes using only your passport or ID, a free debit card that is completely manageable through their application, instant payment transfers, and use of their international debit cards abroad at no extra fees.
In addition to that, they also offer instant balance orders and expenses analytics, multi-currency accounts, and a virtual vault so that their clients are able to freeze a sum of money for future use.
Even though all the above seems tempting, there is still a lot to consider before diving into the digital banking realm.
“Neobanks might seem to spell disaster for traditional banks: an irrevocable move toward speed and simplicity. I don’t see it that way. This shift signals progress for consumers and a tremendous opportunity for banks — if they’re willing to modernize.” – Trevor Dryer
Trevor Dryer, a financial counselor for Forbes magazine, writes that the majority – specifically 90% of millennials, “have an active financial services relationship with traditional banks and only 4% use neobanks” (7). Both customers and businesses still rely on them for loans as they offer better interest rates, good payment installments alongside trustworthy financial expertise.
Nonetheless, digital banks still have the upper hand in eliminating lengthy paperwork, especially concerning loaning applications, thanks to an algorithm that will determine each client’s financial case. This, in return, will save time for both the bank – in the lending process, and the client waiting for an answer on the other end.
In conclusion, neobanks still have a long way to go in order to truly gain a foothold in the banking sector. Its attractive app design, user-friendly and time-efficient interface could prove to be its biggest forte. But in my opinion, one of the improvements that neobanks should opt for is a better understanding of consumer needs whilst simultaneously finding relevant solutions for them within the neobank framework.
On the other hand, traditional banks are now facing a challenge and would have to digitize their services in order to remain in a position of power.
It would be interesting to monitor this rising trend and watch out for the traditional banking institutions’ strategy to cope with the continuously ongoing digitization of everyday life.