LinkedIn – The good, bad, and ugly

LinkedIn first launched in May 2003, and I created my profile in March 2005. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as an early adopter, but I was there in the early days. Initially, I used LinkedIn as a contact list. It was a better system than my email address book because I could keep notes about the contact. If they kept their profile updated, I could maintain communication with them when they changed jobs. It’s been a few full moons since those days and LinkedIn is now one of the most visited sites on the internet (source: Similarweb). I participate on LinkedIn in other ways today, but also find myself having to navigate through some of the noise it creates in my life.

The Good

I love that LinkedIn keeps track of my network of contacts and that it shows degrees of separation between myself and others. I’ve used it for introductions and referrals. I like reading about celebrations of achievement, new jobs, and promotions. I’ve used the training library and occasionally read industry news. I use LinkedIn as a place to cross-post content for my blog. Overall, it’s become a good platform in my life for both intake and output of business-related content.

The Bad

I’ve unsuccessfully used LinkedIn for membership to affinity and professional groups. I expected to find meaningful dialogue in the groups with discussions about current and trending topics. But my experience is the groups tend to be places for promotion and badges. I haven’t found a group with a meaningful discussion board. I’ll keep looking.

The Ugly

There’s also some noise. Daily, I process cold-call sales pitches and requests from people in business development that don’t know me. I get it, LinkedIn is a rich resource of company contacts and is a primary vehicle for prospect lists and finding new customers. But it’s about 90% of my inbox feed on any given week. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t respond to requests in this category.

I also recognize the public nature of LinkedIn data is a source of input for malicious actors conducting phishing and smishing campaigns. You can piece together a decent org chart of a company using LinkedIn and titles. This is key material for bad guys when they are social engineering attacks. Ugh.

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What about you? How do you use LinkedIn? What’s your favorite and least favorite feature? When did you register your account?

Onward and upward!

Photo Credit: Jurgen Appelo via Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/cNL2KS