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.