Does anyone understand Linked In?

John Birmingham, whom I admire and enjoy greatly as a writer, shared a piece this morning about Facebook – specifically, about how he’s breaking up with it. Because it used to be cool, and now it’s not. And because it’s stalking him. Sending message after message. And he can’t really see the point anymore.

Well, I feel the same way about Linked In.

Only I can’t really even begin to pretend my relationship with Linked In ever even got started (and, seriously, it was never cool, was it?). I signed up (why?), put up some basic work info (why?) and then promptly forgot the whole thing.

Except I can’t forget it. I can’t. Because Linked In takes up more room in my Inbox than anyone (or anything) else. People who want to connect with me. People that Linked In thinks I should connect with. Random emails about other people’s jobs. Occasional emails to let me know that someone has changed jobs. Endorsements and connections and who knows what the heck else. It’s like being at one of those awful business networking evenings where people throw business cards at you and then run off to talk to someone more interesting.

To me, Linked In is that annoying guy in the open plan office. You know. The one who constantly pops his head over the partition for an inane conversation about something you have absolutely no interest in. You want to hit him over the head, but you know that, somehow, it might be a career-limiting move. And so you don’t.

Why am I there? Why are you there?

How can I break free?

Are you on Linked In? Can you explain it to me?

*In other news, the new book for the Pink Fibro Book Club has been announced. This month, we’re reading The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. Join in the fun!

Comments 32

  1. I was so hoping I would read this post and go “Oh THAT’S why I am on LinkedIn”. But no, I’m with you. I am there, I have hundreds of connections who I don’t know and I am often endorsed for skills I don’t have. And still I stay blissfully unaware as to why

  2. I joined it as my real self, not my writing one, to reconnect with a couple of people I used to work with. I can understand it from a business POV – all that networking to get jobs etc – but I don’t actually use it. And I really don’t understand it from an author’s POV.

  3. I’m with you too. It stresses me out! So many invitations, and I don’t know whether to accept or not. So far I haven’t gotten a single job – casual, part-time, one-off or otherwise – out of it. But I hang on to it because I keep hearing that it’s a fab way to network and you must be in it. What to do? It’s doing my head in!

  4. I’m there, and have a had a few job interview requests out of it. It’s not particularly useful for me at this stage of my life, but when (if) I’m ready to re-enter the corporate world, I can see that it will be.

    Got to get me a nice looking headshot before then, though.

  5. I am on Linked In and I have a full understanding of all it’s little uses. I have even managed Linked In groups etc and set them up for people. BUT. I personally have no use of LI. I have the emails sent to my spam folder but the ones telling me I have been endorsed for things…by people I don’t know…keep arriving in my inbox. I do understand the point of Linked In, but the truth is, when I am looking for another job, if the people are not on twitter than I am unlikely to want to work for them, or they are unlikely to want me.

    Last year I deleted any reference of me on Klout…and guess what, nothing bad happened!

    As for Facebook, apparently my Dad liked a photo this morning…this is very odd, as he is dead.

  6. I, like you, think John Birmingham KNOWS STUFF. So I read his article with interest. I also admire him greatly as a writer. But Facebook for me still has a purpose. I can connect with friends of mine who’ve moved to other countries, but whom I still count as close friends. As for LinkedIn – as much as it annoys me with its ‘You may be interested in following the opinions of these thought leaders’ (err… thanks, I’ll PASS and use my own thoughts on ‘following’ and save it for twitter), it’s been a valuable tool for me in gathering freelance work.

    I’ve been contacted for interviews on the basis of my profile. If I wasn’t likely to use it professionally though, I’d DELETE. There’s enough spam in my inbox already!

  7. I’m also not that happy with Facebook – it just feels too cluttered and life is cluttered enough. I think I liked it better when I was only connected to a few old pals from the UK. My TV pals from long ago were the best as they’re such showbiz showoffs and very funny. Now… it’s too much. I don’t know why I am on Linked In and do nothing there but click the odd request. Must have turned off the emails though as I don’t get many.

    Linked In did help me find the final ex-boyfriend though when I was going through a e-stalking phase, so it’s not all bad.

  8. I am on linked In for work. Promptly forgot my pass word, can’t be bothered updating it. Yes you are bombarded with rubbish, comments, etc. people seeking answers that you don’t have time to give them. I can’t give up Face Book as it connects me with friends and family overseas, I find it a great way to catch up with what is going in their world and for sharing photos. Linked In I call it Face Book for W…..s. Because someone is always trying to sell me something. xxx Rae

  9. I never got Facebook or Twitter when they first started. Then look what happened! I think Linkedin is sleeping giant. And it will wake up one day. In the meantime, just turn off your notifications!

  10. I’m not on Linkedin, a child psychologist my daughter saw once has invited me to follow her her at least 4 times! I don’t really get it, but my husband = Mr Corporate, loves it. I can’t imagine it will be that useful for me. But if it doesn’t have the middle-aged tummy fat ads on it I could be tempted.

  11. I’m using a kind of social media triage … my tweets go out into the world for anyone to read, so they tend to be either quips or links to cool media that I love and want to share.

    FB is for my inner circle – people I actually know (or know of through a mutual friend, and would love to meet one day). My FB acid test is ‘would talk to face-to-face with this person at a cocktail party?’. I post more personal material there…things I’m up to, personal pics, stories about my kids etc.

    LinkedIn is more of a professional space for me, although I haven’t done much with it. I’ve written my profile as a shiny, happy CV sort of thing. I know that people in my industry (writing/editing/publishing) have viewed it, so I figure it’s better to do it than not – but apart from that, I have the feeling that I should ‘do’ LI better. I just don’t know that I want to spend more time being social online instead of doing, you know, actual paid freelance work!

  12. I’m not on Linked In and have no intention of joining! My Facebook account is under my own name and I don’t think I’ll link an account to my blog, I’m just happy keeping the two separate for now. I am happy doodling away on my blog and who knows what will come in the future?!

  13. I’ve been on linked in for about five years. I initially joined for my virtual assistance business and studied it well. Back then I think it was a fantastic place for a professional profile but it has lost it’s way trying to keep up with social media trends. It should have remained a virtual resume for professionals to meet, connect and interact. The thing that annoys me the most is the recommendation system that it bullocks. I’ve had so many people recommend me that I have never done any work for/with! I should break up, but you know…. breaking up is hard to do.

  14. I don’t get it either – I’ve joined, sort of – I’ve just accepted other people’s requests because I’ve been told ‘its important for my career’ but I haven’t worked out how to use it properly (other than to find out that if I don’t include enough job details, I’ll be flooded with jobs offers that have nothing to do with what I do). But I don’t understand a lot of things – such as how to keep up with the different log in systems (blogger? -don’t have an account) – so I am anonymous by default (or Helen K otherwise)

  15. I am, but I don’t really use it. Some people read my blog posts through it, so I keep it up. I have so much in by inbox to ignore, so LinkedIn is just another. I think it’s good for recruiting…I know someone who was headhunted to be a CEO of an emerging brand in Indonesia through LinkedIn…So good things might come!

  16. I created a profile recently when I thought I had to look for another job. By all accounts, recruiters and head hunters use it to scout new talent. If you’re not in the market for a new job then, I can’t really see how useful it would be to you??

  17. I do understand LinkedIn and think it is useful for corporate networking. But it is not suitable for all people in all jobs. There are a couple of rules to success though. The first one is setting up your settings so that you only receive the updates you want to receive. Knowing what you are going to use it for and understanding that it something that will be useful for some of the time, not all of the time. The other rule should be to only “connect” with someone that you have actually met and worked with. Having lots of connections is not the aim.
    Essentially it’s an online resume and gateway to corporate networking.

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