5 Things I Don’t Get About LinkedIn

 In Business Brief

Ah, LinkedIn. The platform everybody tells themselves they should use more but is usually so dull they can’t help but quit after a few minutes. Whilst it has proven useful to me in my move to London and for discovering and talking to new people, there’s still a few things I don’t really understand about the service. Here’s just a few, listed:

1. People who have their job title/employer in their names.

I mean, I get it; I’m sure it’s invaluable for recruiters to be able to identify themselves and hunt for new candidates with a simple search.

But it’s your name! It’s sacred. Is having your speciality in your title really THAT useful that it makes up for having an obscure, awkward, and distended display name?

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2. ‘The magic number’.

Now I’ve heard from a few people that there’s a ‘magic number’ of connections you can have on LinkedIn. It’s over 500, apparently.

But here’s the thing: I’m nowhere near 500 connections — far from it. Probably because I’m still new to my career and because I don’t really like other people. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

But hey, I’m all about getting up to that glorious 500, so if you’re reading this and care as much as me about dumb vanity metrics, send me a damn invitation to connect. I won’t be upset if you neglect to ‘personalise your invitation,’ and if LinkedIn does that thing where it asks you to select a reason for connecting, just say ‘we’re friends’. We can at least pretend it’s true.

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I’m on a mission to get that 500 number and I don’t care how. Some guy I spoke to for a nanosecond at a work event a couple years ago? Invite sent. That random woman who followed me on Twitter the other day and who keeps banging on about her #personal #brand? Sent.

Hell, I’m practically becoming the Oprah of the LinkedIn world. You’re getting an invitation. You’re getting an invitation. You’re all getting invitations!

3. The mobile app.

The other day I received an invitation from someone to connect which came up on the LinkedIn app on my iPhone. Upon swiping the notification, which I assumed would just open up the app and show me the invite — turned out to not only open the app, but automatically accept the invitation too. It didn’t even give me the option to decline. Convenient, I guess — it seems LinkedIn can’t wait for me to get to that magic 500 either.

4. The ‘viewed your profile’ notifications

I’ll admit that although questionable, I do rather like this feature. I like to use it to haunt former colleagues and show them I’m still thinking about them. Or, if someone looks at my profile, guess what?

That’s right. They get an invitation to connect.

5. The people who show a little too much love for companies.

Head to any big advertising agency’s LinkedIn page and take a look at their comments. You’ll usually see a horde of people fawning the company with comments like “oh, so true!” or “wow, great insight”, or, worse still, some bullshit explanation about how this quote has inspired them to be more #agile. This really happens.

Jeez. Get a room. Those people are the LinkedIn equivalent of the “1 LIKE = 1 PRAYER” crowd on Facebook. What do you think you’re adding to the conversation with a comment like that? And secondly, why do you think those companies are going to give a crap about what you think? Is it because you want a job with them? Do you really picture the HR team at Ogilvy sat around a table, saying “well, Brian left that nice comment on our infographic that one time, let’s offer him the contract!” And it’s not just the advertising industry either.

More and more I’m seeing LinkedIn getting filled with this dreadful clickbait, and on reflection I guess this blog is no exception. I can all but apologise. Does LinkedIn really having a chance of becoming that interesting, useful networking tool we all expected it to be? How do we fix LinkedIn? Or does LinkedIn even need fixing?

You tell me — tweet me @yourolly.

And send me a damn invitation to connect, whilst you’re at it.

Olly Browning
Olly Browning is a freelance writer and designer based in London, founder of the creative agency Mighty Oak. Send your thoughts, hate mail, commissions, or any other business to olly@yourolly.com, or tweet him @yourolly.
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