Like many other college students and young professionals in this disastrous Obama economic recovery, I want to present myself and my skills in the best way possible.
Unfortunately, my experience with LinkedIn, like many of my close peers, has been nothing beneficial and rather artificial.
Over the past three years, I’ve managed to make about 200 connections ranging from close friends to people I’ve stumbled upon at various tech meet ups. Cool. But what does that mean in today’s day in age in social media? Really nothing.
One major problem I find with LinkedIn, is that 90% of everything on it is self serving and provides no value to others. Like similar stories, I recently had an interaction with an acquaintance – she asked me to add her to my LinkedIn network, so I asked why. She then made the claim that it helps her with “career advancement”. See my point?
Unlike on Facebook and Twitter where users are actively engaged in the exchange of important news and information with the intent of helping others, LinkedIn is the complete contrary of that. Are there exceptions? Sure. However, an overwhelming majority of users on the LinkedIn network aren’t deeply engaged enough in the platform to feel the need to treat it how they treat their Facebook or Twitter – which ultimately leads to a disconnected user experience. Put simply, the engagement is absent.
A second major problem with LinkedIn is that it is extremely spammy and invasive. BE CAREFUL. Several complaints have been made where users have unknowingly agreed to allow LinkedIn to send out an “invitation to connect” message to all of their contacts where if the contact doesn’t respond, LinkedIn will send out two more reminder messages.
Why am I getting an email notification that a long lost friend from high school recently connected with our web design teacher from 10th grade? Why am I getting email notifications that these same long lost people recently added skills that I can’t verify in any way shape or form? On the flip side, what kind of emails are these people receiving about me? LinkedIn email also leads in giving off a horrible vibe of being artificially generated content, and not your friends eager to network.
Lastly, LinkedIn has very little regard for its users needs. Everyone assumes that everyone has a LinkedIn profile. Chances are, if you’re on LinkedIn, it’s for a similar reason as the next guy; to network and seek employment opportunities (or of course you were drunk one night and just thought it would be a cool idea to create a profile) But seriously, how many of your peers actively use their account? I challenge you to find five or six. Now try that same experiment with Facebook. A lot easier, huh? The problem is that over the years LinkedIn has shown its key features to be largely ineffective. One of which, are endorsements. How much merit can an endorsement hold if anyone, literally, ANYONE can simply “click” and endorse your skill? Not to mention that it is also misleading to potential employers who see your accounting skill has been endorsed quite a few times but fail to know that the endorsement came from your college British Literature professor or high school peer bong partner.
This ties into LinkedIn’s spam problem mentioned prior, where users are constantly emailed being asked to “check out new skills” that long lost acquaintances have added who we aren’t that connected with.
All in all, I think it’s important to take LinkedIn for what it is: A worthless use of your time and effort.
But hey, maybe some people are finding incredibly lucrative jobs through LinkedIn and I’m just missing out on all the fun.
However, that might not be the case given recent numbers of unemployed and underemployed American’s.
In the meantime, I’ll be busy actually learning skills that are of use to the workforce, not ones I think I may have a shot at getting endorsed by Bob I met a few years back at the local pub.