LinkedIn: You Are Fired.

I signed up for LinkedIn a long time ago. I did so, because everyone kept sending me requests and well, my boss at the time wanted me to write about it. I didn’t find it very useful. That was a lifetime ago. I don’t find it useful now. Infact, I rarely visit the website. There has never been any need for me *personally* to use it.

Infact I get so much unwanted email from the service and from people I don’t know and don’t want to know. Today, I got so frustrated with the whole email thing, that I shut down the account. Done! I will give them full credit for making it much easier than say Facebook to delete my account.

Nevertheless, LinkedIn calls itself a business social network, but much like Facebook it is very asocial — my word for any social service that lacks emotion, empathy and understanding of how real people live and use their offerings!

PS: For the record, I am not suggesting anyone else follow suit and do this. However, as Fred Wilson says, finding your voice is a good way to find yourself and be found.

Responses

  1. Philippe Jeudy says:

    February 16th, 2013 at 8:31 am Reply

    I know… and I did check out! Back here again, writing about tyranny of numbers (Mailbox, LI, Klout and Kred).

  2. Philippe Jeudy says:

    January 13th, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

    Writing today about Linkedin reaching 200 millions users. Mentioning your post, Om. Is there something unique in your initiative, and you’re the only one, or is it about a sign of eternal weakness in every social network, even the more succesful one?! Which platform do you use for your business?!

    1. Om Malik says:

      January 13th, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply

      Check out Cap Watkins blog and you can see I am not the only one.

  3. Don Jones (@VentureDeal) says:

    April 14th, 2012 at 10:11 am Reply

    Om,

    I’m late to this post, referred to it by Mark Sigal’s post.

    While I agree that LinkedIn has its challenges, it is also starting to impress me. A few years ago I started up the “Venture Capital Group” on LinkedIn, as an experiment. Today as 6,000 members, of which probably 10% are mainline VCs/PEs, 60% are entrepreneurs/tech executives and the remainder are probably service firm people. It’s a closed group and I monitor it closely each day and “cull” spammers or irrelevant posts.

    Over time, the quality of the posts and discussions has improved. While each member has to define what is signal and what is noise to them, there was a great example recently of top-quality signal, IMO. An attorney made a post about the recent JOBS Act and how the Senate had effectively killed crowdfunding by adding a number of investor protection provisions. A great online debate/conversation ensued between a knowledgeable executive and a well-known Northeastern VC.

    Here’s the text synopsis of the conversation:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PmMr2S1TgGBa87qL1mDLWpRciQ2F8ciSRVK6I7Qrt4I/edit

    I’ve seen no other online equivalent of that kind of debate. Haven’t seen it on Facebook, tech blog or any other social network, at least not all included in one convenient location. And while most of the conversations in the Venture Capital Group are not as detailed and informative, its a step in the right direction.

    Cheers

  4. erichhugo says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 1:21 pm Reply

    Dunno; I guess 21st century people will haveto have better organic firewalls to filter info

  5. Mason Jones (@masonoise) says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 11:54 am Reply

    I’ve used LinkedIn for a very long time and oddly I have no real email problems with it at all. I only get emails from it when someone specifically sends me a message. I find it moderately useful, though I certainly don’t visit it every day or even every week. But I no longer use Facebook (hate it) or Google+ (just bored by it) so LinkedIn is just about the only “social” site I use aside from Twitter.

  6. samweber (@samweber) says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 11:33 am Reply

    @om – sure hope my recent request to re-connect weren’t part of this problem :-) As many do, I get lots of “stalker” requests and some unwanted spam. However, I think there is real value in LinkedIn as a recruiting tool, even more so than for sales & marketing use.

  7. Harish Upadhyay (@me_real_harish) says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 11:16 am Reply

    :)

  8. Frank Rimalovski (@rimalovski) says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply

    Sad, but true Om. I used to find LI very useful, but much less so now. I now use it mostly to learn background info on people I’m meeting.

    The connection with Twitter was unfortunate. I used to be able to share and find interesting, meaningful and useful comments in LI status updates, but no more. Now it is a raging firehose of information that is a clone of many people’s Twitter streams. That is what Twitter is for!

    Before Twitter integration, I could post that I was looking for a person with a certain expertise, or that a portfolio company was looking to hire someone, and I would get a bunch of useful responses. No more. The signal to noise ratio is as close to zero as it can get. That being said, I will continue to use it, but primarily as a “look-up-a-person service”.

    BTW, you can turn off many (though perhaps not all) of the email notifications with a couple of clicks in the settings.

  9. Alasdair D Murray (@Alconcalcia) says:

    April 13th, 2012 at 12:44 am Reply

    I abide Linkedin as many of my business contacts and old colleagues still in the business are on there, but I do find myself spendiong a lot of time deleting emails from Linkedin as many of the Group discussions are dull or crass.

  10. joshsmith (@joshsmith) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Full disclosure: I’m the founder of a company in the recruiting space.

    As other commenters have said, LinkedIn is indeed a good Rolodex and professional search tool. But we’re missing an important piece of the puzzle in this conversation: where do they get their revenues? The highest growth and largest component of their revenue is “hiring solutions.” Which means that most people don’t use the service as a social network per se, but as a referral network for hiring and as a digital resumé.

    Perhaps that’s why the network feels so cold. People are there for a pretty base need: to find a job.

    It may be that LinkedIn’s other social features are either superfluous or simply require better execution. I’m focused on nailing just the hiring piece, so I can’t really say for sure unless and until I face LinkedIn level problems.

  11. Yaniv Yaakubovich says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 3:13 pm Reply

    My personal 2 cents: If it wasn’t for Linked In I wouldn’t be here today.

    I wouldn’t be able to reach out to so many people I never met before, and organize a 2 weeks trip full of meetings in the Silicon Valley.
    I couldn’t meet that talented product manager at Yahoo!, who a few months after that will connect me to a co-founder of a start up I’ve never heard of before.
    And I would probably have a lower probability to find my first US full time job after graduate school, deep into the recession.

    And more importantly, without Linked In, I wouldn’t have the chance to give back in the same way – and meet people, who only connect to chat about my experience and ask for an advice.

    As Cynthia said, it’s a fantastic Rolodex.

  12. Gianni says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 2:52 pm Reply

    I think LinkedIn – like all SN – has things I love and other I hate. All the email crud for me filters to a LI folder which I rarely open, but I do like keeping track of people I know moving from one job into another. I agree the UI needs significant rework, but boy, don’t get me started on the FB UI (not to mention the puzzling G+…).
    Deleting your account honestly sounds a little prima-donnish, but hey, to each its own :-)

  13. Spencer Chen (@spencerchen) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 1:49 pm Reply

    Om: Would it have made any difference if LinkedIn never set your expectations as a “business social network”? (i.e. simply positioned it as an online resume service)

    1. Om Malik says:

      April 12th, 2012 at 2:20 pm Reply

      good question spencer. I think not. I couldn’t care. The problem was that LinkedIn never really did anything other than prove to be a look-up -a-person service and those occasions were and rare for me on a daily basis. I totally understand that others love it and use it all the time.

  14. Raj Kotecha (@RajKotecha) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 1:00 pm Reply

    True as hell Om – take out the beauty and human touch and it’s basically a career meat market.

  15. Cynthia Brumfield (@msbrumfield) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 12:45 pm Reply

    To me, LinkedIn is really a Rolodex, with minor social networking benefit. But it’s a fantastic Rolodex (which you my friend don’t really need) particularly if you’re starting a new business.

    1. Om Malik says:

      April 12th, 2012 at 12:54 pm Reply

      Cynthia,

      Good way of describing this… thanks for sharing. Hope all is well otherwise.

  16. Mark Hernandez says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 12:39 pm Reply

    What **I** heard in what you said, Om, was… “asocial… my word for any social service that lacks emotion, empathy and understanding of how real people live and use their offerings.” Agreed! Humanity is a critical component of business success.

    But I’m not surprised that the LinkedIn people miss the humanity in their service. They lost me last year when Reid Hoffman made the crack that “all these concerns about privacy tend to be old people issues.” That comment was revealing of a disconnect. This is common among entrepreneurs that are stats-oriented rather than quality-of-success oriented — something more intangible and harder to measure, but nonetheless very real and critically important, and something we all respond to.

    We all know that you don’t have to work so hard to be successful when you have a soul, which every last success coach will try and pound into your head. And everyone over 35 knows that the age of your body and age of your mind are two very independent things.

  17. netgarden (@netgarden) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:46 am Reply

    First off, I totally agree with everything you are saying. I hate the spam. I resent the fact that once it becomes clear that a contact is becoming a spammer, that LinkedIn makes it difficult to threshold them and technologically, it is web 1.0 in terms of clunk. Just a cruddy, convoluted user experience.

    Playing devil’s advocate, though, it must be serving a tangible need for a lot of users to be as successful as it is, as it is a very poor service..that I use with regularity. :-)

    1. Om Malik says:

      April 12th, 2012 at 11:52 am Reply

      Well said Mark, but I think LinkedIn is a very personal usage model. I think it never worked for me. I realize that I should have offered more suggestions instead of being hastily writing the post.

  18. John Abell says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:45 am Reply

    Unless I never pushed the right button, the only way you can stop receiving Linkedin invitations from people is to join Linkedin and then decline. It has been a bother for months.

  19. says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:27 am Reply

    It is telling that my gmail filters all LinkedIn emails to a folder called “Drivel”, which, in turn, I never open. Thank you for the post and making me consider shutting down my own account.

  20. Om Malik says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:08 am Reply

    @dionlisle i don’t disagree with you and that is why I am not advocating anyone else follow suit. I am writing it on my personal blog mostly because it is a personal opinion and a personal action. ANyway if it works for you, it works for you….

  21. Om Malik says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:06 am Reply

    @Greg Golebiewski point well made and point taken. But as I said, it is different for different people.

  22. Om Malik says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 11:05 am Reply

    Hey @RJ (@Build_It_or_Die) So I wasn’t along in this experience. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Dennis d'Entremont (@dcdentremont) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 10:19 am Reply

    I’ve had one good experience with LinkedIn in the many years I’ve been using it. Aside from that I agree with the many unwanted emails. I constantly get invitations for surveys but never qualify for them.

    Some people use it to find new opportunities but some of us who have coworkers / managers on there that part is no good. You have to be careful what you do / say there because you may not want certain people to know that you are connected to recruiters and other companies.

    There’s been little benefit for me and it seems like everyone is mainly there just to send invites and nothing else.

  24. Greg Golebiewski (@znakit) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 10:01 am Reply

    The problem with “soc nets” is that they pretend to be democratic and equal to everyone, even though our soc circles are not. We have friends we like and those we love. I have long been saying Facebook should have more than one “like” button to reflect that: “like,” “love,” “would sleep with,” whatever….

    Same with professional circles: there are staff, colleagues, work buddies and the mf’s we hate but need to know to get noticed… You are obviously in the last category for most of your LI contacts :) I don’t get any unwanted e-mails….

  25. dionlisle (@dionlisle) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:59 am Reply

    Om, I am glad you found your voice, but I still love LinkedIN and hate FB. I have re-found friends, got consulting work and generally connected for business. Maybe because you have such an amazing platform with GigaOM, you are on the next plateau of connectedness.

  26. Lisa E. Ballard (@bluewaterpr) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:58 am Reply

    You’re correct, it is a very unsocial way of keeping up with former co-workers. I’m sure you’re much more adept at maintaining your relationships than I. Therefore, I’ll continue to use it as a crutch. Thanks for once again reminding us when the emperor has no clothes.

  27. Matt Brezina (@brezina) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:56 am Reply

    Most people I know that use LinkedIn do so because it is the most ubiquitously used online resume. The social network features feel very bolted on – just a mechanism for growth – not for utility. A great move that worked out for Reid et al. but not something I value as a user.

    I long ago set up a gmail filter to send LinkedIn emails to my archive folder. I still use LinkedIn to review online resumes of potential employees. And I update my profile when I start a new company. But it is absolutely not a “business social network.” That’s what twitter is for me.

  28. David Brear (@davidbrear04) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:55 am Reply

    I’m working up the courage to delete my facebook. LinkedIn was pretty easy. I figure everything I need to know about my friends I can garner from talking to them or from Twitter.

  29. Boris Mann (@bmann) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:51 am Reply

    I see a lot of of people getting upset with LinkedIn. There are a lot of services that sync with LinkedIn for address and contact information, which I value. In fact, using Nimble, I get a nice daily email with job changes from people in my network, which *I* find interesting.

    I certainly do get my share of people I don’t know trying to connect. It doesn’t really take me more time to manage than any other sources of spam in my inbox :P

  30. Mirza Jelacic (@mirzajelacic) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:51 am Reply

    I guess it, as well as any social media out there, is what you make of it…

  31. RJ (@Build_It_or_Die) says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:48 am Reply

    Amen. It has become a haven for spam, unwanted contact, and the “business stalker.” Yeah, you can use to prospect if you are in sales/marketing or starting a new company, but then you become part of the problem.

  32. justinpirie says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:45 am Reply

    Spot on. They make life so difficult to intelligently network there. Group management is a mess.

  33. Paige Albiniak says:

    April 12th, 2012 at 9:44 am Reply

    Yup. All true.

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