LinkedIn Can Suck It and Here’s Why

linkedinGod, I hate LinkedIn.

A couple years ago when everyone started jumping aboard the LinkedIn ship, I was waving from the dock with a cocktail, wishing everyone bon voyage. My initial dislike of it was simple: I thought their design was ugly and boring and also I was an unpaid stay-at-home mom not looking to “network” with other stay-at-home moms.

I can't remember who sent me the first “Invitation to Connect” but at some point I thought, “Damn, I better swim on out and see if there's still any room on that boat!” I accepted that LinkedIn wasn't the passing fad I thought it was. So I created an account and have maintained the laziest and most blah of profiles, while trying to Beadazzle™ my Facebook and Twitter (and sometimes Pinterest*) on the regular.

Since I'm looking for work in social media now, I've done tons of reading about the usefulness of LinkedIn. And I've been advised by people I like and respect to beef up my profile. Damn it. I have to do this now. But first I'm gonna rant for a minute about why I hate it and don't have to like it and you can't make me.

1. I hate self-promotion.

Right now I'm supposed to be writing my own reference letter for an associate (fancy) who is going to sign it when I'm done. I'm having the hardest time! I can write a recommendation for someone else in a quick second but writing about how awesome I am is not coming naturally. And saying that you're good at things means you create the expectation that you're actually good at those things! I know, I know: weak. But getting on LinkedIn and coming across like a serious person who knows what she's doing is haaard, you guys.

2. The endorsements thing is a total scam.

Because of this blog, I get a lot of endorsements that I really, truly appreciate. When I see that someone has endorsed my writing, or web content, or social networking, I feel like it's a really nice hat tip. But I usually can't reciprocate. I don't KNOW if I should endorse your proposal writing skills. ARE you really good at segmentation or integrated marketing? I don't know because I don't work with you and I don't really know what you do! You're a great pal and I love our chats, but we haven't talked about your skills in Adobe Creative Suite so I can't say if you're good at it!

3. PEOPLE CAN TELL YOU'VE STALKED THEM.

This is why LinkedIn is just the worst.

Remember a few years ago, everyone was seeing these scammy ads telling you you could see who's checked out your profile and then it all turned out to be fake because thank God the one thing Facebook hasn't taken away from us (yet) is the ability to hide our stalking? Well, LinkedIn totally lets you see who's checked out your profile. Grrreat.

The problem with this is that let's say there are only a few people in the world that you would definitely say that you hate. Like, you loathe them. Your interactions with them from more than a decade ago still have the power to get you heated. You may have even crafted a revenge fantasy or two. Then let's say one boozy evening you decided to google this fool and see what she's been up to. And LinkedIn comes up first so of course you click on it. Now you've visited her profile. She thinks you're interested in her for good reasons, not bad, shameful, you-should-have-moved-on-by-now reasons. And then BAM! The next day, there it is: your “invitation to connect”! And attached is a stupid note saying something vague about how long it's been and how glad she is to reconnect. D'OH! You don't WANT to reconnect with that heifer! But just the fact that she knows you looked gives her the upper hand. And then you cry violently at your life.

In the next few weeks, I am planning to try to do some real networking and self-promoting on LinkedIn because I know that I need to grow up and accept that it's important to try to appear professional in order to get people to pay you. But I will be rolling my eyes the whole time.

25 COMMENTS

  1. OMG this is so funny and true. However, we do have to self(gulp) promote and it does make a difference. Everytime a new platform comes up I am the same way. Really? But I will say that LinkedIn can do wonders for your business. The connections you can make especially if you are a networker are invaluable. Totally agree with endorsements! Great post

  2. Thank you, Robin! I’m coming around and finally facing what it can do. Obviously, who you know makes a huge difference in life and LI is a great tool for using those connections. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. My personal favorite is when linkedin suggests how I stay connected to my husband. Its a winner.

  4. Oh Lib so true. I love the image of you standing on the dock with the cocktail. I reluctantly use Linked In. I find the endorsement thing baffling I don’t think I would ever use that to help me hire someone. Would it? I get endorsements from people in my prior career I’m sure many of whom have no idea what I do now with Project Eve. Am I supposed to endorse them back?

  5. Could not agree more, Lib. LinkedIn endorsements seem like nothing more than a faux professional Facebook like. It’s hard to imagine that people have the time. But why think of that reference letter as self-promotion? Aren’t you just telling the truth? Tell a friend what you’re good at and record it.

  6. This is so funny, I love it! Linkedin has to be the most draining of the social networking series, I couldn’t agree more. I must say I struggle with the Linkedin appreciation club – those that LOVE it. I mean I personally can’t see how you can LOVE Linkedin?? Oh well, must just be a myers briggs personality difference. Great blog!

  7. Haha! Thanks. I feel like they’re convincing everyone that this stuff works just through persistence. And we have no choice but to play along! Eek!

  8. Thank you! You’re right about how some people LOVE it. I noticed that some of the people who tweeted this piece prefaced it with something like, “Wow, this person has a real problem with LinkedIn!” or “I LOVE that you can see who viewed you!”

    *shrug*

  9. you need to write more blogs for us. i feel happy when i read something that is so spot on. I think i have walked around manhattan referring to your piece as one of those “let me explain who project eve really is you should read this…”

  10. […] LinkedIn Can Suck It and Here’s Why (projecteve.com) […]

  11. I hate linked in as well and actually deleted my profile and here’s why; it made me look like a con artist! LOL
    I want to pursue a career in business analysis and have the skills needed, but most of my experience is in logistics. My linked in listed all my past positions and responsibilities and I had done up a new resume that used those same positions to highlight my ability to be a business analyst and I had begun distributing it. I was horrified when I discovered that potential employers were comparing my resume with my linked in profile. I was caught in the middle!
    Who doesn’t highlight certain aspects of their resume when looking to change careers in order to show the transition is possible? But all my connections on linked in knew me from my logistics experience and had endorsed that!
    I think linked in locks us into one career path and allows potential employers to spy and browse you before taking the time to speak with you and get an honest and genuine impression of you. Linked in is too cut and dry for my tastes. I won’t use it until I’ve got a foot in the door with the career I WANT to pursue instead of the one fate locked me in to.

  12. Letting people see who has viewed you serves a pretty vital purpose. :)

    For example, when an old boss of mine viewed my profile I sent him a quick note asking if all was well and mentioning I’d noticed he’d checked it out. I asked if it was just a social thing or if there was something I could maybe do for him.

    Turns out he was considering kicking some business my way for my new profession. That alert and sending that note allowed me to begin that dialogue. Maybe it goes somewhere, maybe it doesn’t.

    The endorsement system DOES suck, but you can still use recommendations, which are better, when you want to give them. And I’ve found the “groups” to be a very nice way to get to know other people and, again, to contact people who are clearly looking for the kinds of services that I provide.

  13. I disagree with your disdain for LinkedIn and also feel that not having used it extensively, you are somewhat ill qualified to put out such a strong statement. I use many forms of social media including Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and FB — and hands out LinkedIn is the best and most efficient and productive social media channel for professionals. Yes – sometimes endorsements are meaningless and sometimes people mis portray their activities. But the usefulness far outweighs the issues the challenges. You can make notes (like this person is prone to making judgments without complete information), You can also anonymize yourself when seeing other people’s profiles, you can list recommendations and so on.

  14. How do you make yourself anonymous i think that would be quite useful for us to hear. Also, think the blog was meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek.

  15. Well, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Obviously, we disagree but that’s the great thing about blogging, isn’t it? Just like “this person,” you’re free to share your own perspective. Cheers!

  16. To review privacy settings on LinkedIn click on the thumbnail of your profile picture (all the way on the upper right) and pull down menu for “Privacy & Settings”. There you can control who sees what (& when). You can browse other people’s profiles anonymously. It’s a good idea to periodically review privacy settings on any social media account you have! They are always evolving.

    Maybe this is satire and I’m being too literal, but I too find it odd to read such a strong denunciation from someone who seems to not have made even a cursory attempt to use LinkedIn–especially someone who is looking to work in social media!

    For me it is an incredibly useful professional tool–contacts, groups, updates, recommendations, messaging–I’ve benefitted from all of them. I would strongly recommend to any professional taking the time to see what it can do for you. I know it’s intimidating to present oneself, but at the end of the day if you can’t confidently communicate your strengths and believe in yourself, why should anyone else? :-)

  17. I think you can check out YouJoin.com, much cooler than LinkedIn, it actually enable people to feel and be more real about themselves in light of professional profile. ;)