OK, it was a voluntary action, but I did it anyway. I registered myself on LinkedIn some 14 years ago, essentially when I started my job as CTO at DevExpress. It’s … OK, but not what I thought it would be. I first thought it would be a professional network of sorts, a kind of Facebook , but for job- or work-related connections. I suppose it started out like that, sure, but now?
The issue for me is twofold. Firstly – and this is not LinkedIn’s fault by any means – is the number of emails I get from people I have never heard of, let alone met (or ever will meet), asking to join my network. And the vast majority are so hopeless at this, that they don’t even change the default subject line (“Julian, please add me to your LinkedIn network”) or the text in the email (“Hi Julian, I'd like to join your LinkedIn network”). Mind you, I suppose it makes it easier to spot them and delete them without reading the email itself.
Every now and then, though, I actually get someone who will take the time to change these to something more personal, but then that’s because they are marketing people, which leads me to…
…secondly, I am getting fed up of marketing emails that contain:
I researched your profile on LinkedIn [blah blah]
I came across your LinkedIn [blah blah]
Meanwhile, I had gone through your Linkedin profile. [blah blah]
Yes, the marketing people who are desperately trying to sell me or DevExpress something that we don’t need. Or, even better, trying to show themselves as different from the dozen other companies selling the exact same service or product whose emails I also receive. (Hint: it doesn’t work, people. For example: you’re trying to sell offsite, third-party web app development services. I get emails from different companies about this every day. And, no, even if we did need this kind of thing, I’m not going to get an email one day, slap myself on the forehead, D’oh!, and reply Yes, please. Give me a break.)
And the other promise of LinkedIn was (presumably) recruiters finding you, deciding that you could be ideal for this other position and then contacting you. I’ve never had such an email. The only emails I get from recruiters are the ones where they say, we have some great senior devs, would you like to see their résumés? Er, no. But thanks. <delete>
So, I suppose, my underlying message here is that LinkedIn just doesn’t work very well for me and how I go about my work. But then again, I think it’s the same for a lot of people. I think LinkedIn is now too broad, it’s no longer focused on being a “professional network”. It’s now like this big database for salespeople to target a particular group of people with a mass mailing. (I see from my LinkedIn dashboard that the majority of the people who search and find me are sales people, and the top keyword they used was CTO. Well.)
Finally, to reinforce my point, here’s the list of LinkedIn business services it recommends for me.