Linked in bullcrap

I have ranted often about LinkedIn, from their desire to be a destination as often and for as much time as Facebook, a tall order indeed. Many of the people I know in Marketing are hailing it as the B2B marketing platform, praising the blogs, the opinion leaders they have recruited, and the communities that can be created.

I naturally have a LinkedIn profile, and I am a member to many of these communities that are relevant to my field, and I will admit that there are some interesting discussions. But there is a downside. First is the volume of notifications. Holy moly, my social tab of my Gmail account must get 30+ notification emails a day (I am sure there is a way to turn that off, but like facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t make things like that easy). And they are mostly lame.

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My problems with LinkedIn

linkedin-logoI am getting social media swamped.  But there is one trend that I am sure that I am not alone in is the in your face nature that LinkedIn has become since going public.  I have been a member of Linkedin for a long time, and it has been a good place to collect my professional connections.  But, it is not a place that I go to daily, weekly, or even once a month.  The truth is that for me it is not a major motivator in my professional career. But lately, the noise from LinkedIn has become intolerable.  I blame the pressures of becoming a public company and the incessant drive to derive money from its users. But, come on…

First, as a user, and in my past searches for new positions, I have never once thought to look to LinkedIn.  I know that there are job postings there, and that some people are successful in using it to hunt for jobs, but, truth be told I rely on my reputation, and the relationships I have with a few select recruiters who I have worked with in the past (on both sides, as a candidate and to seek a candidate). LinkedIn has disrupted this, but, to me, not for the better.  I get a lot of queries for positions that it should be clear to a 3rd grade level reader that I am not really suitable for, or that my qualifications don’t fit. It is almost like it has made recruiters stupid, and turned them into spamming telemarketers.  I have stopped responding to the most ludicrous ones.

Second, what started as a nice idea, the “recommendations” feature has become rife with abuse.  How often do you get a query from a past colleague seeking recommendations?  You can decline, but most people just cave in and write one. Usually glowing with flowery praise for someone who is about as intelligent and worthy as a potted plant. When I do go hunting around, I often read the recommendations for former colleagues that I didn’t write, and I have seen a lot of lipstick applied to the proverbial pig. Yikes.  I would never rely on the recommendations of a candidate that are on linked in.  For the record. I have NEVER asked for a recommendation.  The ones on my profile are genuine from people who wouldn’t pull punches.

Lastly, they have started this thing called “endorsements”.  You see 4 of your connections with what seems like a match for their skills, and are asked to endorse them.  I have received literally hundreds of them. The problem is that most of the people doing the endorsement wouldn’t know how good I am at “Product Management” or “Marketing”.  My interactions with them were either for different reasons, or completely unrelated to what they have endorsed me for. Criminy, I got endorsed for “Microsoft Office”. Seriously, WTF is up with that?

Naturally, this is all to help them generate more page views, and more advertising, thus leading HR and Recruiters to continue to pony up for the access to this huge pool of talent. But to me, LinkedIn remains a fairly static view of me and my career. Regardless of how often they offer me a free month of “Premium” I will never take it, because to me there can’t be enough value for me to pay for it. Monetizing your “product” is important, but just like if Facebook started charging the users for the service, it would whither and die, so will LinkedIn.  Continue to make it the professional network, but realize that some/many of your enhancements are making the service far less valuable for my time. There is nothing LinkedIn can do to get my visit frequency to daily.

(I originally wrote this for my professional blog, but thought I should share it here as well)