I’ve never liked LinkedIn, for some reason it reminds of me of a criminal record and unsuccessful job interviews so I have always treated it with contempt. I don’t use it, I don’t ask to be connected to anybody, my CV is reasonably untrue and I only say yes when somebody connects me.
I may link to it if I write a particularly non-offensive editorial and I just leave it hanging there; passive doesn’t even start to describe it. However, for some reason I have more than a thousand connections and sometimes a bit of work dribbles in through it.
I won’t go into why I have dumped the dating-site-that-got-lucky-and-still-hasn’t-recovered aka Farcebook, but this week I was chatting with the charming Bryan Tookey, COO of social media montioring company Brandwatch about LinkedIn.
Bryan is ex-Google and smart, but his idea of a network is more likely to be his home Wi-Fi rather than a collection of mavens in which to plunge and communicate, but he mentioned that he’d invited all of his Gmail contacts to LinkedIn and it had bumped up his network.
So I had a go. It was like casting a drift net and catching dolphin as well as tuna. Any email that had cced somebody meant they were my ‘contacts’ and 776 emails were sent. I was bombarded…. wave after wave of acceptances and, gulp, some fanastic offers of work, an invitation to speak in Africa and, gulp, gulp, an old mate who I hadn’t heard of five years.
Ah, the lightbulb, the spider in the cave, the penny finally dropping. If you take a social network seriously then it can be really useful, who knew? Even so, I still hate LinkedIn sending me an email saying ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ in the same way that WordPress says f**king ‘Howdy’ every time I log in.
I still hate the interface, I still hate the stupid blocks of so-called useful information on the right sidebar and I abominate receving blanket messages from Groups that I was stupid enough to sign up for… and to be perfectly honest I did have a nasty lunch with their comms guy and PR when I had the temerity to write about their French rival, Viadeo (we’re friends now btw).
So I go forward with LinkedIn into 2012 with my hand twisted behind my back and my feet in chains, but even so it is a far, far better thing I do now than dealing with that stupid, ineffectual Facebook… which I’ve just found out takes 14 days to delete your account.