Is LinkedIn becoming Facebook with a neck tie?

On behalf of a client, I recently spoke with a sales executive at LinkedIn. We were trying to establish a performance-based test programme for advertising on LinkedIn, but there is no such service available. We were advised we’d need a minimum spend of $40,000. The client chose to spend her money elsewhere.

During the conversation, the executive asked why I was calling and I explained I was contracting for the client. She then exclaimed, “but it’s not on your LinkedIn profile“. To which I stated “I’m surprised you believe everything you read on people’s profiles on LinkedIn. Why would I document every skerrick of my working life on LinkedIn?

Obviously as she works for LinkedIn, she lives LinkedIn. But the rest of the world doesn’t. And assuming that just because something is online therefore it must be true, is naive to say the least. Why assume a bio on LinkedIn is true?

I’m not accusing LinkedIn users of fraud – my profile contains nothing fraudulent BTW:) It’s just that like all social networks, there are levels of information people will reveal and it varies by individual. How can you learn everything you need to know about someone from a simple “profile” form? For example, I would never risk employing someone just from their LinkedIn profile alone – very risky indeed. Though it’s a reasonable first step to learn something about them.

I find LI (let’s call it LI to save typing) quite useful. I use it to connect to people I already know, or with whom I may do business at some point. Though I have known many of my connections for years. At the moment, I’m using some of my connections for research for my next book. I guess the main reason we all connect is for our individual benefit, not the benefit of others?

My blog gets automatically posted on LI (among other sites), so you could well be reading this post via LI.

And though I don’t read much of what’s posted on LI (mainly due to my A.S.S. Time) I have recently noticed a change in the type of “content” posted in the news feed.

As you are probably aware, the majority of the content is simply re-postings of other people’s content. Very few people create original content. And that’s one of the purposes of online networks – to share other people’s content.

But lately the content seems to have moved from links to useful business articles, interviews, research or publications, to postings that have nothing to do with business or even careers. They seem to fall into these categories:

  • glib motivational statements
  • images of office cake parties
  • people holding a trophy they’ve been awarded
  • a joke
  • personal thoughts or images more suitable for FB

Here are a couple in my feed last week:

image 1

I’m sure those who posted them had good intent and I don’t mean to offend them, but am curious why they would appear on LI, when they look more suited to FB?

The concern is that if these sort of posts start to grow, then the value of spending time on LI will decline. And just as people are leaving FB due to the ads and chewing-gum-for-the-brain posts that are now dominating it, the consequence for LI is that people will stop using it for similar reasons.

Or maybe LI will morph into a sort of Facebook with a necktie – combining business and personal “content” to help people while away the hours at the office.

LinkedIn - Facebook with a neck tie
LinkedIn – Facebook with a neck tie

After all there are only two reasons people use the internet:

  • To save time
  • To waste time

That’s it.

So as FB and Instagram are the time wasters in our personal life, maybe LinkedIn is now the timewaster in our worklife?

Am I off the mark here? Most of my colleagues agree and some even suggested we need a punishment for those who post FB content on LI.

Let’s know your thoughts please. Or maybe you could send me a joke…

Connect with me if you’re serious: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

4 Comments

  1. I completely agree with you Malcolm. I try to be careful with what I post or share on LI for that very reason – they need to remain distinct. I find it quite interesting though that FB has started to try to mix business with pleasure as well so more and more the lines are becoming blurred.

  2. I like LI Malcolm. I have learned a lot through it, and made great contacts, but I’m rapidly tiring of the ‘look at me’ content. People naturally like to present the best version of themselves but it just seems so inauthentic. Plus, it’s easy to fall in to the trap that because something is posted online, it must be true. And I am as guilty as anyone else of both the above. I’m not sure of the answer other than to switch off and tune out. I don’t think it will make a huge difference to my life, other than to stop me wasting hours mindlessly reading content that might or might not be true. In essence, just because we live in a world where anyone can write, it doesn’t mean we should.

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