Friday, June 13, 2014

Why I dumped LinkedIn

Ages ago, I joined LinkedIn. I really can't remember why I joined or even when. Yesterday evening I had just updated my profile to make it livelier and suddenly found my account had been locked. Well, that was very strange because those of you that know me will realise that everything posted online is pretty mild - especially given that LinkedIn was the only account that I published under my own name. I'm not sure what the problem is but that doesn't really bother me to be quite honest. The whole thing is that though I'd put a lot of work into LinkedIn yesterday to try to spruce it up, I really, truly don't care about LinkedIn. It never generated traffic for my blog. It never generated traffic to Facebook just as Facebook never generated traffic to my blog. It never even generated interest in what I can do for people.
When my LinkedIn account was blocked, I asked what the problem was and was pretty much told "somebody complained and we're not going to say what they complained about or why but you're blocked so nya-nya-nya". There are really only two things to consider there - either there's a troublemaker or there's been an error on LinkedIn's part. If it was a troublemaker, LinkedIn is welcome to them. If it's an error then it'll likely happen again and it'll happen to somebody else because I'm not going to return.

As I told a friend, mentioning LinkedIn: I was commenting on articles and getting some feedback. Lots of people seemed to like my anti careerbuilder article. I don't think that LinkedIn has been at all worthwhile though. Like all of this online stuff, it eats time and promises a lot but produces nothing And that is the soundest condemnation anybody can ever give anything online! I never had any contacts about work out of LinkedIn - there were many agencies that promised to look at my resume but never did. It was in terms of gaining or changing employment, utterly valueless.

Being without LinkedIn is more of a relief than anything else. It's another one of the interminable pieces of online dross gone that I don't have to keep updated or worry about. I'm not the only person to think little of LinkedIn either.
Linkedin has endorsements and I found I was getting endorsed for really strange things that I'd never handled. I never put anything on my profile about accounts receivable yet had 15 endorsements for it. I never put "telephone skills" on my profile yet had 30 endorsements for it - all from people I don't even know and have never even communicated with - including some from Russia.

Over the past couple of years I have systematically removed anything with my real name on it from the internet. I have a strong suspicion that posting under a pseudonym is much to be preferred. I did meet a recruiter that used to look up applicants online before interviewing them. Having done a quick check just now, I am relieved to find that there is nothing visible for at least the last five years other than some out of date telephone numbers.

One of the craziest things is that people on LinkedIn write recommendations for each other. Out of sheer curiosity I had somebody I didn't know from Adam to do an recommendation for me. They got my gender completely wrong and I wrote them a recommendation too. With that level of fakery on LinkedIn, it's well worth doing without it. To cap all that off, I still get spam from LinkedIn groups and when I try to unsubscribe, it tells me I am not authorised. LinkedIn has become spam.

The other crazy thing about LinkedIn was the way people wanted to become my friend. Well, wasn't that special? I allowed about 850 people to become my "friend" on LinkedIn. After they became my "friend" they just slipped into obscurity and I never heard a word from them. I don't even believe I knew many of my new "friends" in real life. This is supposed to be a "business" forum. Nothing there sounds remotely businesslike - especially if there was somebody going round looking for reasons to be insulted or slighted or whatever.

So to recap: On LinkedIn I had
  • People wanting to be my friend that I'd never met nor heard of.
  • The people that became "friends" never interacted with me.
  • Fake references witten for me at the drop of a hat.
  • Fake endorsements by people I didn't know and for skills I didn't even possess including pottery, basket weaving and taxidermy.
  • Anonymous people going behind my back to complain to LinkedIn instead of sending me a message directly saying that they had an issue with whatever issue they dreamed up.
  • Inane articles about business that had holes a mile wide.
  • Inane articles about business that were really infomercials or sales gimmicks.
Perhaps the thing that made me laugh the most was the following (taken from an email interchange with LinkedIn support)
As a courtesy, I've gone ahead and temporarily removed the restriction from your account so you can make changes. Please know that if no action is taken by you to update your name fields, your account may be subject to future restrictions. Here's a link that will let you check and update your name fields:
Clearly using my real name wasn't a smart thing to do. I should have used a pseudonym. Apparently my real name is no longer good enough. Goodbye LinkedIn, you won't be missed.

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