Chances are you have a profile on linkedin.com. Chances are that unless you are looking for a job, you haven’t touched it for a while. That’s how LinkedIn works. It’s a great repository for people’s resumes and arguably the best way for recruiters to find people who are looking for jobs. But it’s not a social destination and it’s not going to be. So I say, LinkedIn, stop trying.
A little history
I have read that LinkedIn was founded about 2003ish. In 2008, I got into it when members of another social group I was in all decided to jump into it. I don’t remember why this seemed like a good idea but so be it. I was there.
Back in those days, you were strongly encouraged to link up to people you knew, and reject people you didn’t. Those weird connection requests you were getting on Facebook at the time (and still get) weren’t part of the LinkedIn landscape. So-called “LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs)” were scoffed at, the social media equivalent of “easy” men and women.
If only LinkedIn had stayed that way.
The Microsoft days
Back in 2016 Microsoft bought LinkedIn for a ridiculous amount of money. That’s ok, Microsoft has several ridiculous amounts of money lying around. By then, LinkedIn seemed like a failure, largely because it was trying to compete with Facebook and Twitter to become a business-social destination. This was a complete failure because no one really wanted that.
Today LinkedIn makes money by selling access to your data. Recruiters and businesses can pay to see anyone’s LinkedIn profile and they can target you. And boy, do they. Barely a day goes by when I don’t get multiple emails from someone who wants to tell me something wonderful. It’s turned into scam central.
There are a very limited number of thought leaders, truly influential folks, who post articles on LinkedIn. Chances are, you’re not one of them. I stopped posting my stuff there long ago when it became obvious that no one read it.
State of LinkedIn today
I use Linkedin for one purpose. If I’m going to meet someone (or just met them) I cyberstalk them. That’s it, period. I am annoyed by the amount of email I get from them and I rarely if ever read anything posted there. Wouldn’t it be nice if LinkedIn would concentrate on doing what they do well — being a marketplace for recruiters — and stop with all the other nonsense. I can’t turn off my profile completely because I know people cyberstalk me.
What would solve this would be some much more granular controls. Let me say that random people can see my profile and offer to connect with me but that people in certain categories cannot. Let me block people from overseas. Heck, let me block people from out of state if I want to. But none of that will happen because all those people I want to block are actually paying for access to me. So I’m reduced to ignoring emails from LinkedIn and stopping by once every few weeks to clear out the notifications and offers to connect that I most certainly will not accept.
Social Media needs to be rebooted.
Really, it’s a microcosm of everything wrong with social media today. Depending on your social network of choice, you’re bombarded with ads, stupidity, or strangers. Facebook hopes to solve its problems by promoting Groups as an alternative to the News Feed but I fear that’s just going to make wacky people more wacky and lonely people more lonely. Twitter hasn’t really addressed its hate speech problem, leaving Instagram the default network of choice for many people. But it’s not so much a two-way conversation as an entertainment stream and that makes it less of a social network than it should be.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope one of these companies, especially LinkedIn, spends more time thinking about what it is.