Let me count the ways I hate you, LinkedIn and the manner in which you encourage people to behave.
1. There’s far, far too much willy-waving going on. For some reason that completely escapes me, people write in a strange kind of LinkedIn-ese that you see nowhere else (except on CVs destined for the ‘reject’ pile).
“I am a multi talented individual …” – Good for you!
“I am a results oriented business leader.” – What kind of results do you get?
“I operate at the most senior levels to make things happen.” – What things? Are they good, bad or indifferent?
“I continuously remove obstacles preventing sales in order to reach my objectives” – Sounds ominous to me.
“… strategically managing multiple hard-to-fill and urgent job requisitions.” – Pardon?
“As a sales hunter, I drive myself to reach my goals …” – So no points on your driving licence then?
2. Oh dear.
3. I see endless examples of ageism and sexism, in the guise of humour or “research says that …”. Here’s part of a milder example. As anyone who’s ever studied occupational psychology knows, someone’s age or gender isn’t correlated with how well people do at work.
4. I detest the corporate shill – someone who only ever posts company propaganda. LinkedIn at its best is personal – and nothing is more impersonal and lazy than simply regurgitating everything that your marketing department produces. That’s not to say that it’s never appropriate – it may well be. But if your status updates only consist of that material, then you’re not providing much of value to your network.
5. The constant entreaties by email and on LInkedIn itself to take out a free trial of their premium service. No thanks. If there was a way of permanently stopping you from asking me about this several times a month I’d probably like LinkedIn a little more.
6. The many and varied ‘intelligence tests’ that appear to be the only thing that some people post. I particularly hate these if the person concerned can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re”.
However, I won’t be deleting my account any time soon. At its best, LinkedIn is a useful source of information and contacts. In particular, it’s been a good way on staying in touch with people who I’ve enjoyed working with in the past, as well as with my current colleagues. Within the last month, a person I worked with more than 15 years ago contacted me as he’d heard about my lymphoma. Without LinkedIn, I doubt whether that would have been possible. It’s these moments of humanity, in amongst all the willy-waving that makes me grateful that LinkedIn exists after all.