I have been active on LinkedIn for a few years now–enough time to watch it evolve.
Or, should I say, devolve.
Don’t get me wrong–LinkedIn can be very useful for landing jobs or clients, and I believe it is still worth being a part of. I’m saying that it’s devolving because it’s looking more and more like Facebook. LinkedIn was created to be a professional tool, not the mess that Facebook is.
Back on February 28 of this year (I am well known for remembering obscure dates), one of my LinkedIn connections posted a video of a Croatian one-man band frenetically playing all of his instruments at once and making beautiful music as he did. Was the video appealing to me? Of course it was. Did it belong on Facebook? Of course it did. Did it belong on LinkedIn? Absolutely not.
A lot of people seem ignorant of the fact that potential employers look at LinkedIn all the time. When a young man posts on LinkedIn a photo of himself holding a sign that says “3 Years Sober Today!” that says to potential employers that he is a possible loose cannon who could relapse without warning any day. (I’m painfully aware that I am going to get all the hate in the social media world for saying this, but the truth hurts, people.) This kind of post, however, would be perfectly at home on Facebook, where people would congratulate the sober young man and share his victory with their friends (as they should).
Don’t get me started on the comments that people make on LinkedIn, either. One woman who identified herself as a nurse once made a comment which many thought was heartless on a post that I do not remember clearly. Along came a person who read the nurse’s comment and replied, “You’re a nurse? Crap, you need help.” [sic] This kind of reaction would be appropriate on Facebook but highly unprofessional on LinkedIn. People are just as nasty in comments on LinkedIn nowadays as they are on Facebook, and I think that is a great shame.
As for me, I left Facebook almost four years ago, deleting my profile and everything–not just deactivating it. I simply had had enough being attacked my total strangers just for having an opinion and losing friends through posts with which I did not agree or, even worse, having my friends attack me just for having an opinion. I am staying on LinkedIn, though, and being as professional as possible.