Sunday, November 1, 2015

LinkedIn, Again

This business about not having a picture on  my LinkedIn profile had become a problem. I’d almost been turned down for membership in a writers’ group because of a “blank avatar.” (If you don’t post a picture, the default is a gray unisex head-and-shoulders silhouette that looks like an FBI firearms training target. Linkers like to call it an avatar.)

The thinking is confusing for me on several levels.

First -- If there were ever a case where a picture is not worth a thousand words it’s in a profile you consult to see if that person is experienced in the work you want done. Why do you need to see what someone (ostensibly) looks like when you can read all his/her qualifications for whatever business you want to conduct? 

If you think you’re going to get an insight into someone’s character from their picture, forget it. No one is going to put up an unflattering picture. Do you suppose some people might post something less than current? From a school yearbook, maybe?

 Or - is not having a picture cause for  suspicion? Do we need to  eliminate the threat that there might be a space alien or a multinational corporation lurking behind the individual’s name?

And absence of a mug shot is only one offense on Li. A shortage of “connections” can mark you as suspect, too.

Li is all about connections. You can “connect” with others and they can “connect” with you. There are 300 million people on the rolls, so you can see the potential. But for practical purposes, how many connections is enough?

There are people with 500+ connections. (Bragging rights are cut off at that point.) Really? How do you keep up with that many friends or even acquaintances?            I suppose you could email a “hello” to 50 a week for a couple of months, but it would be time to start over by then.

I used to find, before I learned more about controlling things, that some of my paltry 40 or 50 connections had accreted without my knowing who they were -- possibly chance pressings of a button in the course of a surfing session. I wonder how much of that might be part of it for those 500+ guys.

On the other side of the equation, occasionally someone will ask to connect with me, and it's a flattering thing to be chosen from 300 million people. 

The avatar situation has a solution, too. It’s permissible to use the photo space to put up some other kind of illustration besides your face.  Some people have company logos or other designs there. Since I don’t think my mug shot will win me any business, I’ve taken advantage of the loophole and posted an avatar of my own. It’s a picture of  a diamond, about a hundred-carat job. Wotthehell.