LinkedOut

LinkedIn was one of those platforms you looked forward to joining once you had finished school/university and had landed your first real job.

You create an account; hastily filling out your profile and scrambling around for a reputable looking photo of yourself. Then you proceed to start building your network of contacts. You find some school friends on the platform and think, "oh wow, Bob is an Accountant now, I thought he was destined for fame with his rock band".

After that you track down your immediate colleagues at work, dispatching multiple connection requests with a few clicks. Now it's a case of watching and waiting to see your network grow and blossom.

A few days pass and you've hopefully ended up with around twenty connections; a modest accomplishment, but in your mind this rag-tag bunch of contacts will be your ticket to the big league in a few years.

Years go by and after a few more job changes plus an update to your LinkedIn profile photo, you will have hit the hundreds mark.
You're now thinking, "this is the time for me to shine, that CEO I bumped into the elevator last week is going to totally accept my invitation to connect."

Alas they never accept but to your surprise you are on the receiving end of a bombardment of connection requests. You study those requests and see a variety of well presented folks with equally flashy job titles such as; "Recruitment Executive", "CEO @ No.1 Talent", "Kickass Headhunter and proud father".

Feeling spoiled for choice, you selectively accept some of the connection requests and are promptly inundated with job specs and requests for your CV.

Time travel a few more years and your LinkedIn inbox is now bloated with requests and spam from these "two a penny" individuals.
At the same time LinkedIn has conveniently added a few more features that allows these empty vessels to make even more noise on the site; they start showing up in your activity feed and in that "Javascript Developers" group you had joined.

However you are a patient and rational person, you mute some of the worst offenders and start limiting your usage of LinkedIn, maybe even forgetting about the site for long periods of time.

Then you get a rude awakening! Whilst enjoying your cup of tea/coffee in the morning, you get a phone call on the desk phone. This surprises you because nobody ever calls on this number. You answer to the sound of a over enthusiastic voice on the other end, "Hi I'm X calling from Y, I am a specialist in recruitment/sales. I couldn't help notice your profile on LinkedIn and decided to check out your site and reach out to you directly."

If you are like myself then you are more concerned about solving how they got the number, so you respond to the caller with "hmmm ok", "yea", "sure I'll think about it", whilst your brain crunches the numbers.

Once the call has finished you log back into LinkedIn and see the same person has been hounding your profile for the last week. Reviewing your connections, you realise that you have maybe only ever met around 20% of them in real life.

So what do you do?

Well in my case I tried pruning and cleaning out my profile but that didn't seem to help mitigate spam or unsolicited calls.
I then tried making my profile more private and obfuscate any details to make it harder however 2nd or 3rd connections could still get through to me.
So in the end I decided to delete my LinkedIn profile.

In conclusion, the site hadn't netted me any real benefits or shall we say "passive job offers". You could argue that is my fault for not proactively using the site, which would be a valid point. However that was only one factor in the decision, other reasons being:

  • Low value content being presented on the LinkedIn feed e.g. unrelated topics, feel good/ humble bragging stories, tech articles that were out of date.
  • LinkedIn groups that were unmoderated or laissez-faire in their content guidelines
  • Ever changing and buggy UI that had insonsistencies between different views when navigating around the site
  • The charlatans, the salesmen and the artificial people that pollute the ecosystem.

So why don't you try being LinkedOut? I can honestly say it hasn't affected me positively or negatively since leaving the site.

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