There aren’t too many of us who don’t at least dabble with a bit of social media these days. You might use Instagram to upload your million and one holiday photos for everyone to ‘enjoy’, you may use Twitter to tweet abuse at Joey Barton and Piers Morgan or, as a bare minimum, you probably use Facebook to keep tabs on those people with whom you don’t really want to interact in the real world.
For those who can’t get enough of this kind of stalkery at home, there is also LinkedIn – the nosey-parker networking site – for those long hours when someone is paying you not to be at home. LinkedIn’s mission statement reads:-
“Our mission is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.”
Hmmm, right. OK, then. In my experience, people use LinkedIn to either check up on what old colleagues are doing these days or to see if there is anybody on there who can be of any use to them in a quest for a new job. However, it is becoming more and more like Facebook; Facebook with a shirt and tie, you might say. People are posting jokes, setting up groups to discuss Arsenal’s transfer dealings while some even post links to their own personal blogs. Imagine that!
It might not surprise you to learn that there are some things about LinkedIn that really piss me off.
Spurious Connections – The whole point of LinkedIn is to build up and expand your network by connecting with other people you know or have come into contact with during your working life. I myself have over 800 connections and I have probably met, or know personally, 80% of them. The rest are mainly recruiters either trying to get me place their candidates in my organisation or get a commission on the back of my next job change. A small percentage of them are people who I don’t recognise at all but I accepted them as a connection because I was worried that I had actually met them and forgotten who they are and didn’t want to cause offence.
Endorsements – A few years ago, LinkedIn introduced this feature whereby you can endorse your connections for various skills. It’s the most pointless merit regime since the Scout movement s awarded arm badges for learning how to tie knots. I’ve been endorsed for skills I’ve barely heard of and I’m damn sure that some of the people endorsing me haven’t heard of those skills. I’m looking for forward to the day I am endorsed for fire-eating by someone I have never met or had dealings with.
Photographs – Let me repeat, LinkedIn is supposed to be a serious business tool. It is not Facebook. Do not have as your profile pic a photograph of you in your muddy football kit, or pissed off your face on Jager bombs or with your tits hanging out of an ill-fitting bikini. At the other extreme, don’t have an arty, black and white photo of you staring into the middle distance or pretending to be on the phone to someone. Either way, you look like a tit.
Pithy platitudes – Talking of pictures… LinkedIn has now become the home of the workplace chesty pictorial sound-bite. Facebook has all those ridiculous graphics imploring you to ‘like’ if you lover your son/daughter/mum/gerbil (as if you’d have to think about it). LinkedIn is the home of the pithy photo extolling the virtues of sickly adages like “there’s no I in team” and “the only difference between try and triumph is a little bit of umph”. Do me a favour, please!. It’s about time we started seeing pictures of cats falling off sideboards or dogs riding on skateboards. Well, if it’s good enough for Facebook…
Desperate Seeking… – Listen, I’ve been in the horrible position of actively having to seek gainful employment a couple of times over the last five years and so I know only too well that you will do almost anything to get yourself sorted. However, there is no need to change your LinkedIn profile to “ready for my next big challenge”. Everybody knows you’re out of work, because they see hundreds of updates a day on their home page as you connect to recruiter after recruiter, join every job vacancy discussion board going and attempt to connect with ex-bosses you would normally cross the road to avoid in the vain hope that they will take you back on.
See you on the “People You May Know” page – Griff.