In June 2014 I decided to close my LinkedIn account. The reasons I gave were threefold: the spam, the desire to own my professional identity, and the growing backlash to the service.
Why then last week did I decide to create a new account?
1. Hypocrisy – this is the main reason, actually. I realised that when I come across someone new, the first thing I do is search for their name. This almost always takes me to their LinkedIn profile, which gives me an at-a-glance of what they’re about. If I’m doing it to others, why shouldn’t others be able to do it to me?
2. Google juice – this is related to the above. Apart from Wikipedia pages, LinkedIn profiles seem to be some of the highest-ranking types of results when you search for people’s names. Instead of someone else’s page that mentions me, I might as well have something I curate in the first page of search results.
3. Contactability – I really try to keep my contact list up-to-date. But, at the end of the day, people don’t always communicate that they’ve got a new job or have moved on. The good thing about LinkedIn is that you get passive updates of these things.
Do I think LinkedIn is perfect? No. I don’t even think it’s good. But then I could say the same about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… every social network that’s run by publicly-traded companies. Shareholder value comes before everything.
One of the ways LinkedIn creates ‘value’ is by making it a social silo. Some of the stuff in there is inaccessible without a login. You don’t even think twice about this if you’ve got an account, but it’s a constant source of frustration otherwise when you haven’t.
So there we are. I’m not proud of going back on my decision from last year but, given that so many people asked, I thought it was worth explaining. It’s all about connecting with people and adding value.
Over the course of 2015 I’ll be building out my profile and connections. My ‘sniff test’ for accepting connection requests is, as before, whether I think you’d know who I was if I bumped into you at a conference or walking along the street.
I’ll be syndicating my posts into my LinkedIn feed, so it’s also another way to keep up with this blog. 🙂
Image CC BY Nan Palermo