What happened to my friend named LinkedIn?
LinkedIn had a brilliant concept; make your business relationships exposed to the public and open the door for referrals. But this is not the reality. Simply put, LinkedIn has become completely over-saturated and non-genuine.
I take responsibility for the issues in my LinkedIn relationships. It started when I began connecting with people that were not in my business network. First it was with my high school and college classmates. I’ve never done business with them, I have no idea what they do for a living or if they are remotely talented in their field…but I asked for them to join my social “business network.”
From there it spiraled further out of control. I accepted every person that requested a connection, while also requesting connections with anyone that might know my name. At first I thought it was a good idea: The more people I was “connected” to, the more people would see my blog, know about my company, and assume that I’m one of the most successful people to ever turn on a computer.
But most people seemed to have also acted this way, and wrecked his or her own LinkedIn too.
Everyone seems to be highly “endorsed,” strongly “connected,” and extremely overqualified. The honor and genuineness of being “connected” with someone from an outsider’s point of view is essentially non-existent. Do they actually know their connections? Have they truly done business with them?
I’ve always sensed a problem, but it wasn’t until I got a Public Relations endorsement from my childhood dentist, and a connection request from my mother’s co-worker from her waitressing job in college, that I had the epiphany about this absolute mess.
With all of this said, I still find a lot of value in LinkedIn, and I have simply adjusted the way I use it:
- I use it to help my personal search engine rankings (Google, Yahoo, etc.). If people Google me, – I want my LinkedIn profile (which has my professional bio and credentials) to pop up near the top.
- I search specific individuals. I like that I can see what they look like before we meet, read their work history, while discovering that we are both Rotarians and UB Alum.
- Recommendations are extremely undervalued. I use LinkedIn to read recommendations – if they exist. I compare a good recommendation to a five star ranking on Google. It gives a personal twist in relation to somebody’s previous work ethic, or experience.
If you are feeling LinkedIn frustrated and over-saturated like me, don’t give up. There are still a lot of positives, and like most social media networks, the companies are always working on ways to improve the user experience. In the meantime, I commend you for your incredible endorsements, and I hope you keep up the great work.