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Why I’m Getting Tired of LinkedIn

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I\’m Out

LinkedIn must be good for something, but I can’t figure out what. As I spend more time on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn seems less and less relevant.

Here’s how LinkedIn strikes me these days: what do you think?

  • Groups and Answers are wildly self promotional. There is useful content to be found in comments and replies, but you have to sift through a lot of hype to get to it.
  • Email alerts are nonstop and rarely relevant.
  • Updates are pretty much an import of my Twitter feed.
  • Navigation around the site continues to be kludgy. Less intuitive than Facebook, even, and less worth the effort.
  • Connections on LinkedIn seldom connect. At least for my network, communication is easier on Twitter and Facebook.

LinkedIn may be great if you’re hiring or looking for a job, though I haven’t had much direct experience with that aspect of the site. But for networking, information gathering, and information sharing – Twitter and Facebook are superior.

What am I missing? Where am I going wrong? What value to get from LinkedIn?

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37 Responses to Why I’m Getting Tired of LinkedIn

  1. Brad, I agree – irrelevant self-promotional hype would be the phrase I’d use for LinkedIn. I’m grateful for some connections there, and good info comes out of a group every so often, but mostly it’s not worth the time for me.

  2. I think LinkedIn is best as a research tool. If you’re going to connect with someone, you can review her background in LinkedIn before connecting. Or if you need to connect with people in X industry — you can look for connections there.

    Q&A has come in handy, but you’re right. Lot of hype. But that also tells you who you don’t want to hire.

  3. Elaine, Thank you for commenting – I wonder if the packaging industry is part of the issue with LinkedIn. I have a background in packaging and tried to develop a couple LI Groups around packaging, with little success. Just could not get any meaningful interaction and discussion.

    Meryl, Excellent point about research. Now that you mention it, I’ve used LI in that way and it’s pretty helpful – but not in a way I would call “social”. If you’re looking for a good platform to eliminate hiring candidates, Facebook is obviously another place hirers like to poke around.

    • Don’t think of LI as a place to socialize. Twitter and FB do the job well. FB has an advantage over LI in that it includes many of my personal friends — not just business. I admit that most networking in FB has been more on the personal side, but I do cross paths with colleagues there. More than LI, that’s for sure.

  4. I view LI far differently from FB in a few respects. A few things I like about LI: on line “resume” including recommendations. Since I am self-employed and have to “sell myself” to new clients, I like that they can look at my LI profile and get a better picture of who I am professionally…they would not get this type of info from my FB or for the most part, Twitter. I also like being able to find folks and see where they are working now, or to look at the background of someone I’m potentially doing business with. As far as communicating on a regular basis with professional contacts, I don’t use it unless I’m sending personal messages related to work. I suppose I could send some of these via FB but not all of my LI contacts use FB and I kind of like keeping some separation between “professional” and “personal” networks.

    • Hi Shelley, The job-related aspects of LinkedIn are undeniably strong. Maybe the platform should concentrate on that and devote less attention to the social aspects. FB, at least so far, is definitely a place where people enjoy talking about personal stuff far more than business. That may change, though, as FB becomes more business friendly, which it is starting to do.

  5. Oh, and recommendations are an excellent tool in LI — something the others don’t offer. Like Shelley says — LI is great as a resume-type tool. Although FB is trying to add business features, it still has too much of a mix with personal (even if you split your contact list types).

    • I find recommendations on LinkedIn very useful too. I recently started using LinkedIn though I created the account 2 years ago. I checked some of my colleagues’ accounts and they had these awesome recommendations from their previous employers something other social networking sites do not have. Linkedin is all about work where as Facebook and Twitter is more about friends and family.

  6. Hi Brad,

    I have noticed that people contribute self-promotional posts to LinkedIn, but it’s also done me some good. I’ve made a couple of contacts where I’ve been able to negotiate some great publicity for my site. If I hadn’t been contributing to the discussions on LinkedIn that’d never have happened.

    I guess it’s like lots of things then. The majority of the effort spent won’t be useful – but if you don’t contribute at all you miss the good parts!

    Thanks!

    Pete @ Currency Exchange

  7. Linked in is my ‘arms length’ networking place. I’ll accept anybody interested as a contact there whereas on Facebook I really limit who I pick up. Facebook is still primarily family and friends which is how I would like to keep it until better ‘grouping’ comes about. But even then, I really like the separation between business and private – even if it is imaginary.

    I seldom pay any attention to the questions part of the linked in site. As Meryl says it’s more of a research tool and a rolodex, not a socialization place. Very useful for finding old co-workers. More so than Facebook ever has.

  8. Pete, Good to hear you are seeing positives from LI. If I put my mind to it, I’d probably come up with a few as well. Still, for me the time-benefit calculation is not panning out.

    Fred, The distinction between business and personal is sure getting hard to make, isn’t it? To me it seems like FB is gradually becoming more business-friendly – although nothing like LI yet. But people spend a lot of time on FB, which gives it huge potential as a business network. One of the big obstacles is that many firms don’t allow employees to access FB at work. What do you think about that policy?

    • In certain environments I understand limiting access to facebook, however, that more than likely moves activity to the cell phone network which is slower and unmeasurable. I’m not sure that’s an improvement over educating a workforce about expectations and monitoring the situation. Blanket bans seem silly if it includes a portion of a workforce that needs to network like sales and management, but then I would assume Linked-in would get caught up in that too.

  9. Hi Brad,
    I’m a newbie in blog field. I have just known about Linkedin. However, I have known about Facebook. I think Facebook is just for fun, just for make network with family and friends. I think Facebook is less suitable for business. I may will try to join on LinkedIn to promote my sites.
    Thank you for your post..

  10. Hi Brad,
    I’ve never had any luck with LinkedIn either. I tried adding my wife’s boutique information in it once and I found it to be not very user-friendly in my opinion. And yes it’s becoming more of a spammy marketing tool than anything else because I think some people are being told by some of these so-called “Internet marketing Gurus” to go join LinkedIn and put bogus information on there about yourself with a link back to your site and you’ll magically be on the first page of Google within a week because of it. I think it’s time for it to be moderated a little more. I’m definitely not a fan of it right now.

  11. I think LinkedIn is best as a research tool, i connect to many of the people and i am not tired of it.

  12. I agree with you, Linkedin for my has not been successful. There are a lot of professionals there but there are also lots of self-promotions. Where are in Facebook and twitter we can share so much info around the net not only with businesses but with others too. :)

  13. Linked in has both its benefits and drawbacks. It is a good way to raise your profile and gain many business connections, however a lot of time you find people are not interested they just want to increase their own number of friends. Also many people are rarely serious about business deals and keeping in touch they simply just use it as a means of publicising themselves.

  14. You know what I think about it! It’ll be another IPO bomb in my opinion. They want to be Twitter or Facebook for “professionals.” Unfortunately, they are in denial and have a severe identity crisis. They should be proud of what they are which is a directory and database of business professionals and sell that USP like nobody’s business.

    • I think you’re exactly right, Heidi. The more LI tries to be a Facebook and Twitter wannabe, the lamer its brand becomes. I’m developing a theory that social media gravitates to natural monopolies. We only need one socializing site (Facebook). We only need one group texting site (Twitter). We could use one great professional directory/job site, and that could be LI.

  15. Ah…love how you’re stirring the pot for this debate Brad! I agree with Fred that LI has been great for re-connecting with old colleagues. I have some wonderful experiences and stories arising from being “found”. You and Heidi sum it up well and I agree that LI should be happy being the business face of the social media mullet! Funny how some Marketing 101 lessons play out: when businesses try to be all things to all people only to realize that (especially in today’s market) it’s necessary to segment a niche in order to avoid being lost in the crowd.

    • Jeanne, Maybe LI “peaked” a couple years ago. Seems like lots of people were having success using LI for connecting back then. For me, the difference over the last couple years has been the explosion of self promotional noise. Worse than Twitter!

  16. I agree, I think LinkedIn.com has peaked and unless they really dominate some aspect of social networking, they are going to be thought of as a place to go sales leads and a new career. Before Quora.com came along, LinkedIn was the place to go to showcase your knowledge in the Question and Answer section. Now I see about 25% of the volume of the questions that used to be asked, and about that much drop in answers.

    I read recently, and I wished I could find the statistic, that very few users actually use it on a regular basis. I’ve requested connections in the past and have followed up with these same people later in person and they have revealed that they only go on LinkedIn once or twice a month.

  17. I love LinkedIn but I agree it doesn’t work very well as a conversational platform. The things that I like best agree with what some of the other commenters have said.

    I appreciate the ability to stay in contact with people without having to worry about keeping up with their information. No new phones or new addresses or getting a personal email instead of a business email when they change companies.

    I appreciate seeing someone’s background. Not everyone fills out their profile, but a lot more people fill out their profile than have person biographical websites. It makes a difference in knowing if you have something in common or can help each other when you can SEE all that info.

  18. Hi Brad, I still find LinkedIn useful but agree that growth has changed the site. LinkedIn is the only social media space a lot of corporate friends know and use so it remains for me a good place for business only. However, I do think that LinkedIn is dangerously following in the footsteps of Starbucks. The site built a brand as a business site but has tried to incorporate social elements, which have only contributed to the noise. LinkedIn used to be a daily stop for me but now at best I may check in once a month.

  19. Mark, Interesting you mention the sporadic follow up on LI. I’ve noticed that, too. Very often, people accept my connection invites several weeks after I send them. And many of these folks are people who appear to have an active LI presence.

    Beth, The visible profiles are a plus if you’re hiring or looking for collaborations. I notice that Facebook is trying to replicate this with a form of resume posting – but LI clearly has the advantage here.

    Karen, I wonder if part of the LI social problem is that so many of its members are not well acquainted with social media. This could explain why about half the members are non responsive or barely responsive, and the other half self promote you half to death!

  20. Brad,

    I certainly see your point.

    In fairness to the site, my limited experience with the ‘Ethics’ group I joined last year was quite positive – though unfortunately, I have hardly had any time to participate. Also, the site does arguably have more of a business-like focus, in contrast to Facebook which is largely personal.

    But you do have a fair point about connections on the site rarely seeming to actually connect.

  21. I use linked in quite a bit. I find it is only useful for meetng mainly business owners I find it not so great as a marketing tool however.

  22. These days my main use for LinkedIn is for collecting testimonials. On your website you can make up whatever you want. But you can’t fake a testimonial through LinkedIn. I ask folks to make a recommendation via LinkedIn then copy it over to my website.

  23. Robert Arbetman

    Hi Brad!

    You’re right about navigation on LinkedIn but I don’t know exactly what to compare it with as I’m not on any other networking site. LinkedIn seems to have a basic appeal for business/professional networking; NOT social networking. That’s why I made LinkedIn my first stop.

    I’m not sure I want to deal with all of the headaches associated with facebook, twitter, etc. I only have so much time for this stuff.

    Regards,

    Bob “aRBy” Arbetman PE
    Grand Rapids, Michigan

  24. Really great feedback from everybody – thanks to all for chiming in. In the time since I wrote this post, I’ve unsubscribed from about 15 LinkedIn Groups and have checked into my LI account two or three times a week. Not feeling any pain. Forcing myself to stop habitual LI surfing also helps me focus on networks that have more value to me. Sure, some people find lots of value on LI. But for me it’s a dead horse I’m tired of beating.

  25. Brad, this is exactly why I wrote a similar post recently “Is LinkedIn Losing it’s Value?”

    Just because sites “can” doesn’t mean they should. I think LinkedIn has changed and lost its focus – there is too much distraction from its core purpose and too much spam.

    Excuse the self-promotional link: http://colinwalker.me.uk/2011/02/is-linkedin-losing-its-value/

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  27. Such an interesting, and timely read Brad as I’ve recently reconnected with Linkedin.

    For a few years mine lay dormant, but recently I’ve begun updating my profile, requesting recommendations, and linked it to my twitter feed. (I figured it had to begin working for me, but it remains a sleeper)

    Apart from it being a good place for research, I’m left wondering what Linked is all about. I make more connections on twitter than any other platform.

    The only reason I never deleted my profile is because it’s ‘Linkedin’, and as an early adopter, I secured my vanity URL. (Something I was unable to achieve on Facebook, despite waiting the midnight countdown when FBook released vanity URL’s)

    Thanks for this, at least I’m not the only one :-)

    Cheers
    @CatherineWPhoto

    • Hi Catherine, Thanks for coming by. Who knows? Maybe LI will make a comeback. But I’m still not seeing much reason to use it. Facebook on the other hand seems to get more interesting every day. Good luck!

  28. I have to agree. LinkedIn doesn’t float my boat either. I see no appeal and have ittle interest in it. I am getting annoying invites and you know what I do with them… delete! lol

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