Earlier in the week, Barack Obama visited the Silicon Valley headquarters of business-orientated social network LinkedIn, which hosted a town hall-style meeting to promote the president's new jobs bill. The irony of talking about how to find jobs at a company that helps people find jobs was not lost on Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show."
Stewart noted that many audience participants said they or someone close to them were unemployed. LinkedIn, Stewart said, had clearly not worked for the town hall attendees, and he claimed not to know what the service is designed to do for people who use it.
"I thought [LinkedIn] was an email inbox flooding service whose sole purpose in life was to remind me that a guy I went to high school with would like me to join LinkedIn so I can spam everyone I ever met," Stewart said in his opening segment, making reference to LinkedIn's infamous email invites, designed to kickstart the user's network of connections and encourage new interactions on the site.
"This town hall does not look good for the website," Stewart wet on to say. "It would be like going to a Craigslist townhall and having people get up, 'Do you know any online sites where you can go to get a handjob and a gently used futon?'"
Real-world studies, however, suggest that LinkedIn may be more useful that Stewart let on.
Between 1998 and 2009, the number of people who use the internet to search for jobs has tripled, jumping from 24 percent to 74 percent, according a new study, reported by the Wall Street Journal. The study found that people who use the Internet to look for jobs decrease the duration of their unemployment by 25 percent. The researchers also noted that online job searches are most effective when used to contact friends and relatives about job prospects.
On the other hand, Forbes editor Susan Adams says it can be detrimental to conduct your entire job search online.
"Career professionals agree that job seekers should spend, at most, 20% of their time online," Adams wrote recently.
As anyone who has ever sent resumes into the ether and never heard back knows, nothing beats being face-to-face with the person who has the power of the yes and the no.
Watch Job Stewart lampoon LinkedIn (below).