I was not one of the original LinkedIn believers. My partner from my PR firm was though. He was a networking machine on the site. He used it to help grow our PR business by making really strategic connections, cultivating relationships and sharing relevant content. So after listening to him describe the obvious benefits in joining, I signed up a few years ago. The experience was great. I built up my network and shared what I thought was good, relevant content.
The concept of LinkedIn is a great one. In my mind, it’s Facebook for business professionals.
Along the way though, I began to notice some subtle changes. I started to get a bit annoyed (in the scheme of things not really annoyed but kind of annoyed) at things people were sharing. Listen, I love the motivational quotes as much as anyone, but how many times a day do I need to read the same Steve Jobs quote? What really got me was when more of my connections started sharing irrelevant content that was political in nature, and quite frankly, just distracting.
Really not interested in hearing people's opinions on Donald Trump's hand size on LinkedIn. Nor their opinions on President Obama.
I get that people have the right to voice their opinions, but I also believe it's important to know your audience and the platform you are participating in.
But, the icing on the cake to make me say “WTF LinkedIn?!?!” has been the constant sales pitches I now get. I admit – I am a sucker to “accept” most invites. It’s my Buddhist nature to be kind :) But now it literally seems like nearly every invite I accept turns into a sales pitch 5 seconds after we connect. UGH. No shit – the people that are reaching out to me these days aren't even in the business world (I will leave it at that but think Tinder…). I finally give up and have come to accept that LinkedIn now officially IS FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS PEOPLE.
LinkedIn, once for me a serious networking and sharing platform, has become almost completely ineffective for me. Sure, I will stay on it, share my own stuff but the positive perception I once had of the site is gone. They have lost me, which I’m sure is ok with them since they are mostly concerned with user growth as their most important metric. As a public company, I get it. The emphasis on quality has given way to an obsession with quantity.
I once read a great quote from Jay Chiat of the famous Chiat Day Ad agency: “How big can we get before we get bad?” For me at least, that day has come for LinkedIn.
On the positive side, what a great window of opportunity there now exists for someone to create a true networking site for business professionals!