Linkedin – Emperor’s New Clothes

I’ve never liked Linkedin. There I said it. It’s a heresy among some of the social media glitterati. But I’ve never liked it. I’ve never seen it as being social. And, therefore, I’ve never understood why it’s called a “social network”.

Today, a specific reason why it makes me uncomfortable finally crystallised in my head. I don’t like corporate environments where people are frightened to show their real personalities and hide behind professional personas. I’ve spent a large part of my working life in those kinds of places, and I’m glad to be out of them. I think it’s an outdated way of working, it makes people unhappy, and unhappy people are not productive people.

And now I realise, that’s exactly what Linkedin tries to do in the online world. It’s getting worse, with meaningless endorsements for skills people don’t necessarily have, and congratulations for vapid anniversaries. I’ve even been invited to congratulate someone on their new role at “unemployed”!

So, if you are tempted to spend your time hiding behind your Linkedin profile, don’t. Why not take some time to join us on the really social platforms where people can be themselves?

[In keeping with the spirit of Linkedin, I have not adorned this post with anything so frivolous as a picture]

6 thoughts on “Linkedin – Emperor’s New Clothes

  1. I think LinkedIn has a specific role. I like seeing something about what people are doing in their work lives & it can be a good way of keeping in touch with what former colleagues are doing. I don’t get involved in discussions in groups so I’m probably missing out on much of its usefulness. It is designed very much with the corporate employee in mind, and big US corporations at that. It doesn’t work at all well for small businesses or freelancers who, to some extent, are more in need of work networking than the corporate employees who often mainly need to know & be known by the people in their corporation in order to progress. I think there’s a need for something that’s more exclusively work-orientated than Facebook or Twitter but less American-corporate-formal.

  2. John hi, LinkedIn sends out an alert when someone changes as much as a full stop in their profile. These tactics and endorsements are a way of trying to get people to interact with the platform and are all wrong in my book. Twitter and Facebook have all increasingly marketed themselves like this. Powered by VC capital looking for the return, they have made reasons to intrude a way of life and annoyingly so.

    I have to say though I agree with Janet. I think LinkedIn serves a useful purpose as a business focused network. Twitter is news, and Facebook is friends, and there’s a role for work, at least at the moment. Google + may eclipse it over time, I guess we’ll have to see.

    News, stories and doing the work do and should blend and we are all real people, but LinkedIn has the potential to be a place where people can build value, even so.

    I think there’s a difference between a platform that’s a waste of time and one which is doing what it does badly. And if looking at both of those criteria together, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a few others come up short, in my opinion. I’m glad you’ve raised the question, but singling out LinkedIn doesn’t really make sense to me.

  3. As they say, everything in moderation. LinkedIn provides a great way to share articles and information that might I might not otherwise see. Additionally, it provides a way to keep in touch with past colleagues.

  4. I have never ‘taken’ to linkedin in the same way I took to twitter and I just tolerate facebook. I think each has its own good and bad sides and you use them as you see fit. I use twitter to engage and make contacts which I then end up meeting in real life – I use it mainly for finding people who are interested in building our future infrastructure. I use facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, because they all use it. I use Linkedin to keep in contact with people who aren’t family or close friends, but who I want to be able to contact through a media that isn’t just a phone call or email. I also use it to put posts into groups of like minded people if I think they would be interested. I enjoy reading their posts in the groups too. I find people contact me through it who don’t use twitter or facebook. I think we all have our favourites and linkedin isn’t really social, but its useful in its own way? so I guess that means I agree with you.
    I don’t like all the endorsements either, I can’t be bothered doing them but I like getting them! The trouble is I have some brill contacts in linkedin, and it would take me months to endorse them all, and if I missed one I would be mortified, so I don’t do any.

  5. Must admit, I think you have something here. We keep talking about how we should investigate doing more on LinkedIn, as much of our target audience of public service employees are on there. Unfortunately, as no one likes the platform as individuals, we’re quite reticent about getting bogged down in it further. As Anne says in her comment, their tactics are about driving traffic, not about being useful to the user. A very frustrating network.

    – Dyfrig

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