A couple of days ago a number of people I know as well as me received an email from LinkedIn congratulating us. Why? Well apparently we had "one of the most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!" (Their exclamation mark by the way). Others received them with a 1% figure (lucky ones! – my exclamation mark this time).
It surely sounds great and it may make you feel special, right? I mean, top 5%…
Wait, the email also had a button you could click in order to obtain further information: "LinkedIn reached a new milestone: 200 million members". So, 5% of 200 million is 10 million… In other words, LinkedIn sent the same email to a 9,999,999 other people.
I suppose LinkedIn relies in the idea that members that receive the email will be jumping up and down and not caring about the numbers that much and immediately start face booking, twitting, G+ing and any other -ing they do, and indeed LinkedIn was helpful enough allow people to do so at least via email.
In general the number is still a bit vague, I am not sure if they mean 200 million members that are active, or including those that opened an account and never logged in again, or even those that have more than one account (I know a couple of people that ended up creating new ones by mistake when replying to people inviting them to join using a different email address…). I wish they provided more information about their methods… but still, it may be a very good marketing campaign: LinkedIn members make use of some affective heuristic that helps them decide to share the very good news of being more professionally interesting than previously imagined and decide to become "premium users" to see who has viewed their profile for example.