The dark side of Linkedin

Do you get days when you feel like writing about controversial matters and challenging perceptions of much loved things? Well, I don’t know about you, but I do…often! Having recently written a short piece about the demise of Trade media I thought it was time to turn my attention to LinkedIn.

I have attended countless seminars on online media and LinkedIn is often cited as one of the most virtuous channels, particularly for B2B relations, with an inherent peer review that prevents you from pretending to be something you are not (unless you make up a completely phoney identity, but then you wouldn’t get many recommendations, would you?). But is LinkedIn so inherently virtuous?

Ask yourself first of all why you created your LinkedIn profile in the first instance and I bet that two answers will come to mind. One: you created it when you were looking for a job and it was the in-thing to do, and Two: you were dragged into it either because your boss told you to or, if you were freelance, you registered so that you could get to know (and sell) to other people (essentially the same as looking for a job!). These are barely the selfless reasons, such as exchanging information in groups and so on, that are often advocated when this online channel is promoted!

I personally like using LinkedIn, following and – if I can – contributing to a number of groups. Some groups are more democratic than others and let you share freely, others are ruled by control freaks (often these are groups created by some vested interest) so you don’t stand a chance. Some discussions can be very constructive and you may even strike up a friendship of a sort. Others may degenerate, though I tend to avoid confrontations and have waved goodbye to a number of groups ruled by aggressive individuals.

When you use LinkedIn, however, you should also ask yourself first why you are there yourself. You can still enjoy it and make good use of it, but please don’t think of it as the ‘holier than thou’ online channel, as this it ain’t; it has a much darker and selfish side…

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