The New 9-to-5: Why I LinkedOut
It was my introduction to social media. March of 2006 I joined LinkedIn and it opened a new world full of professional contacts. At first, I didn't really know what to do with it. Taking the advice of others, I started connecting to anyone else that had a large number of connections. Apparently it didn't matter that I had no idea who they were. As long as their network helped my network grow bigger, I was "doing it right."
It quickly became an excellent resource for every kind of individual. An online resume, a marketing tool, a way to meet new people and get new business. No matter what you wanted to use it for, it was “legit” and incredibly valuable. I believed this for a few years and would volunteer to educate others on how to find the most value from being on LinkedIn - especially during the economic fall of 2008, when everyone was unemployed. The value of LinkedIn was immeasurable.
LinkedIn made an asshole move. They started charging job seekers. This was the first major “turn off” for me. I strongly believe that most people who are looking for a job should not be charged for tools to help them find opportunities. Most people who are looking for a job are probably unemployed and have little to no income. Ethically, I could not support this new "service" and began educating people on how to use LinkedIn without paying for it.
I started getting recommendation requests from people I didn’t know.
I started getting recommendation requests from my friends that I’ve never worked with.
I started getting recommendation requests from people I would never recommend to anyone (because they sucked).
I started getting requests for introductions to my connections from people I would never connect someone to (because they sucked).
I started getting requests for introductions from and to people I didn’t even know!
My inbox became flooded with newsletters that I swore I never subscribed to. I would unsubscribe and get them again. Why? Because my connections on LinkedIn would download their mailing lists from their LinkedIn connections.
I began to question where the value in LinkedIn really was for me?
The last straw. The final straw. The straw that broke the camel's back...
And I thought the recommendations feature lacked authenticity. Why would I trust someone's LinkedIn endorsement when I was being endorsed by people who had no idea what I even did for a living? This was the biggest joke I’d ever seen. So I began to joke about it. Publicly.
I asked my friends to start endorsing me for Goats:
I was sure that people I didn’t even know would start endorsing me for Goats too.
And I was right:
Shortly after Goats became my number one endorsement, I deleted my LinkedIn profile.
Almost 2 years later, I haven’t regretted it for a second. No more emails requesting recommendations and introductions. I don’t think people realize how much energy and time it takes to deal with that bullshit. And the number of newsletter subscriptions I’m added to, without my knowledge, has decreased significantly. Also, when someone (who sucks) asks me to connect with them on LinkedIn, I’m incredibly happy to say that I’m not on LinkedIn.
“But how do you keep track of your network?”
I actually get to know people and build real relationships with them. If I don’t want to do business with someone, I don’t keep in touch. I surround myself with good people who do awesome things. This makes it very easy to "keep track of my network."
“How do you get business as a consultant?"
Recommendations and endorsements actually do happen outside of LinkedIn. And when they do, they are authentic and people have a lot more trust in them. Word of mouth will always be the best business-builder.
I’m not saying that I think everyone should delete their LinkedIn account (though I’d strongly support that decision). I’m saying that it no longer provides value to me, and my opinion is that it doesn’t provide a real value to anyone. It makes me sad to see how many people are so dependent on something that, in many ways, decreases productivity and authenticity. I don’t want to be part of something like that.
I don’t want to be LinkedIn. So I LinkedOut.