I’m so happy and humbled to share, once and for all, that I hate LinkedIn.
It’s not just because it pretends that it’s a social media site — as if we need more of those. It’s because it’s possible to spend hours scrolling through post after post of people patting themselves on the back and still learn absolutely nothing that’s applicable to their career. But isn’t that supposedly the point?
My first experience with LinkedIn was when I was 13 years old in sixth grade.
My English teacher from the previous year must have accidentally pressed “send” on an auto-generated invite link which very nicely invited me to join LinkedIn. A rule follower at heart, I saw that I was still under LinkedIn’s 16-year-old age minimum. So, seemingly under the impression that it was a genuine invitation, I apologetically responded to my old teacher that I would have to wait three more years. He never responded, unsurprisingly.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I was several years over the age minimum and decided to finally create a LinkedIn profile. I thought that it would help me network, find jobs or otherwise just be helpful to have.
I spent hours adding every scrap of pertinent information about myself and peeking at other people’s profiles to see what information they had and how they formatted it. I later learned that those people could see me doing all of that since LinkedIn tells you when someone looks at your profile. Thanks a lot, LinkedIn.
What I quickly realized was that almost none of the employers or professors I’ve had are on LinkedIn, and even if they are, it doesn’t really matter.
LinkedIn isn’t about finding a connection and getting hired for your dream job.
It’s about robots DMing you, “Based on your profile, we think you’d be perfect for us! Click this link http://www.definitelyavirus.com to learn more!” It’s about being told that the most relevant job for you within a 100-mile radius is serving at Cracker Barrel. Worst of all, it’s about shameless bragging.
The word “humble” doesn’t even exist in the same universe as LinkedIn bragging. It’s not even like a “soooo I did something…” post on instagram where everyone knows you just want to be complimented on your new haircut. Instead, it’s someone saying, “So blessed with the opportunity…” followed by a string of unnecessary hashtags.
I understand the value of a platform that allows you to strut your stuff for future employers, and I’m not arguing against showing off your skills to the professional world.
Every time I scroll through my LinkedIn feed and read these casual “I am beyond blessed to have solved world hunger yesterday” posts, I’m filled with a looming sense that it’s too late for me. I’ve missed my chance to do anything meaningful with my life.
I haven’t been the founder and CEO of my own multi-million dollar organic soap company which rescues puppies and also builds houses for underserved populations since I was eleven – why would anyone ever hire me?
I’m sure there are people out there who find real value in LinkedIn and have had positive experiences networking or finding jobs through it. All the power to them. I just see LinkedIn as another platform that makes consumers feel like their only value is what their online profile and presence say about them. You don’t have to actually be happy or feel a sense of fulfillment in your life because as long as your Instagram looks pretty and your LinkedIn has some badges on it, you’re doing fine.
Maybe in another ten years from now, when I’m an accomplished, millionaire philanthropist bio-anthro-physi-ortho-author-ist, I’ll sit down to shout my first piece of sage wisdom into the LinkedIn void. Maybe I’ll take advice from my younger self’s opinion and be genuinely helpful, or maybe I’ll have forgotten all about this and just post “You know how I got here? Hard work.” and get ten million thumbs-ups and reshares. Long live LinkedIn.