The next “thud” you hear coming from this quarter may be LinkedIn hitting bottom on my value scale.
I’ll acknowledge my own contribution to that; I allowed myself to get into discussions (arguments, really) that had nothing to do with business, and were on subjects and with people so polarized there was never any chance discussion would change a mind on either side. Engaging in that is, I’ll say it myself, stupid.
Now, however, I’ve seen something that may tell us more of what LinkedIn is really about.
People publish tips for success on LinkedIn, success being defined most often as getting more people to view your profile. Presumably the more people who look you up, the more chances you will have to succeed in whatever it is you’re doing, usually selling something. For some people, of course, being noticed is the goal in itself.
But of three tips I saw recently, only one involved anything constructive, like posting information of value. The real keys to succeeding on Linked in appear to be (a) to keep changing things in your profile (doesn’t matter what) because people connected to you receive notice of those changes and, you hope, will want to see what’s changed, upping your number of profile views; and (b) to look at lots of other people’s profiles, on the assumption that they will then look at yours -- upping your number of profile views -- to see why you’re checking on them. This one has the added benefit of also increasing the number of views for all those people you’ve looked at -- a win-win situation if I’ve ever seen one. The beauty of it is, it doesn’t require any intellectual effort. Your fingers do the walking.
Somehow, that doesn’t seem like what I remember as the reason for joining. I’d be happy to debate the subject with anyone who cares to defend those techniques.
I’ve also posted to a “LinkedIn Influencer,” the question “What qualifies you to be an “Influencer”? The occasion was my attention being called, via email announcement, to something he had written. It was well enough written, and presented nothing to offend, but Influential, with a capital “I”? Didn’t seem that way. It sure didn’t have the heft of the Communist Manifesto, or Martin Luther’s checklist, or something written by the Thomases Paine or Jefferson. Fact is, it didn’t rise to the level of a political speech by Mitch McConnell -- a very low bar.
But then, there are people easily influenced (take a look at the post just before this one, December 7, for an example). For me, though, old and set in my ways, a banal essay about happiness, money, and success isn't going to influence anything.
All in all, LinkedIn is a disappointment. If that puts me on the short end of a 300-million-against-one argument -- so be it.