Microsoft recently announced that it will acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. But do any of LinkedIn’s users actually derive value from it?
Even by the standards of social media platforms, LinkedIn seems fairly universally despised. That is despite the strong competition offered by Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — all disliked by many for various reasons.
LinkedIn sits in a similar space to Facebook. We resent it because we feel like we have to use it, no matter how bog-awful it is. Because if you don’t have a presence there, it might seem suspicious. Almost as if you don’t really exist. If you’re looking to advance your career, that would be a bad place to be.
The experience of using LinkedIn is pretty horrific. If you don’t like LinkedIn, the best life choice would be to never give your email address to anyone who knows anyone who thinks about using LinkedIn.
Otherwise, you will never stop receiving begging emails asking you to connect to complete and utter strangers. The problem was so bad that the company had to pay $13 million to settle a lawsuit about it.
LinkedIn is also a cesspit of insincerity. We have all had to deal with way too many inappropriate requests to connect on LinkedIn. That is why Frank Chimero’s idea of replacing every New Yorker cartoon caption with “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” struck such a chord.
— Frank Chimero (@frank_chimero) September 22, 2015
Then there are the endorsements. I know I can’t trust endorsements on other people’s LinkedIn profiles. That is because some of the endorsements on my profile are utter bunk.
I have been given endorsements on some quite technical subjects by people who could not possibly know whether or not I am worth endorsing for them.
Endorsements are also particularly poor at reflecting a fast-moving sector like digital. What does it mean in 2016 that three people have endorsed me for web 2.0?
All in all, LinkedIn endorsements are a pretty poor reflection of what people are actually good at.
Janus Boye explained why the experience of using LinkedIn is so poor for most of us. It turns out that regular professionals aren’t their main focus. Recruiters are.
As such, all of LinkedIn’s user experience efforts are aimed at recruiters, not those looking to progress their careers.
That is just the first of five reasons Janus Boye identified explaining why LinkedIn is so poor. As he concludes: “There’s a strong need to build a jobs and careers network platform that reflects the world we live in.”
In other words, we need a LinkedIn that meets users’ needs, not recruiters’ needs.
Have you ever found LinkedIn useful to your career? Or is it time for us to stop wasting our time trying to find value in using LinkedIn?