I have whined about social media before and none of it is ever exactly a hot take, but having recently got LinkedIn, I feel like it deserves a whole post to itself. LinkedIn is insane. Firstly, it tells you who has viewed your profile, a feature that has been used to phish people on FB and Twitter since I can remember, but for some reason is baked into LI. I’ve been trying to think of a good reason to have it, and I can’t, as far as I can tell its only purpose is to play into people’s insecurities.
There’s a common tone on big social media sites, a way in which people present themselves, seemingly just because everybody else does. LinkedIn’s has got to be the least genuine of the lot, it’s pure, unadulterated self-promotion. And I absolutely get it - in a professional context, you need to be able to promote yourself, and upsettingly, the one’s who are best at that likely do the best in the professional world - but being constantly reminded of it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. One post I saw particularly bothered me, which appeared to have gone “viral”, in as much as a post can go viral on LinkedIn. It described the process of this individual applying for a job, briefly outlined why they felt they were qualified for the position, then explained they were rejected by the company, who cited lack of relevant technical expertise in the relevant area, and overall appeared to be relatively even-handed and courteous when meting out said rejection. They then went out to squarely criticize the company’s decision, saying they were both enthusiastic and teachable, and therefor ought to have been given the chance to prove themselves (without any mention of the successful candidate, and presumably without any knowledge of them either). Again, I get it, rejection sucks (and I am writing this from an incredibly fortunate place in which I’ve not received as much rejection as I’ve deserved during my career thusfar), and looking for a job in the current market is exceptionally frustrating, and I can even understand venting your frustrations on social media - but why are so many people liking and sharing this content? Am I missing something, or being too cruel?
This is not to mention the borderline harrassment at the hands of recruiters. If anyone else gets in contact with me and asks me to either a) write Visual Basic, b) do data entry or c) work for an insanely shady hedge fund that I am 90% sure is a laundromat, I am going to scream. Oh, and also, the whole thing is a big ol' data mine.
I feel like the idea of virtual networking, at its core, is a great one, in much the same way that I feel like sharing photos online so your family and friends in faraway places or microblogging 140 characters at a time once was. Somewhere along the line, it feels like something went pretty wrong. But what do I know, and obviously I’m still using the site, so there is some hypocrisy in all this. Hopefully one day it’ll prove itself to be a useful tool in furthering my career.