I was in a meeting recently, and a fellow HR Professional who is in a talent management role told me she was “LinkedOut”. At first, the fact that she used the expression made me laugh. Then, I have to admit, I started to feel a bit sad. Thoughts started going through my head like:
- Is LinkedIn my distraction, sort of like how Angry Birds is for others?
- Is LinkedIn worth it for me?
- Is the LinkedIn fad over?
I asked her what she meant by being “LinkedOut”. She indicated that she wanted nothing to do with the burden of helping people she did not know with finding employment at her company. When I told her that the original golden rule of LinkedIn was to directly connect only with people you know, she said, “Well guess what, no one does that any more. Moreover, it got to the point where dozens of people a day that I did not know were asking me to connect with them, and then whenever I did, their first request was for me to help them find a job. It was a complete waste of my time. I had enough, and I’m out.”
When new methods or technologies come on-line, there is value in the novelty. Unfortunately, with the sheer volume of activity happening on LinkedIn, I think the novelty is wearing off.
If I am completely honest with myself, I would have to say that LinkedIn is not as much fun, helpful or effective as it once was. There are now so many updates that I can no longer keep to my “fifteen-minutes-a-day” rule. I don’t find that the updates I see are as interesting or useful as they used to be. For that reason, I realize that I have really scaled back on the amount of time I spend on it, and when I spend time on it. I don’t spend any time looking at the connections of my connections anymore, trying to understand how we are all connected and what benefits there may be to the knowledge of how we are connected and the synergies that might be created. I haven’t updated my Inmap in a long time. And, like my colleague, I too receive far too many requests to connect from people I don’t know at all, with no explanation as to why they want to connect with me, which is grating. I am tired of pressing the Ignore button.
That said, despite the adolescent stage it is in now, I’m still intrigued by LinkedIn. I’m not LinkedOut yet. What seems missing though are universally-accepted rules and best practices for how to connect in the LinkedIn world. There also needs to be some clearer distinctions drawn between what is acceptable in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as each has its own arena.
HR Professionals—the broader job market needs us to remain on LinkedIn. We just need to frame and promote how best to connect with us. Meanwhile, don’t LinkOut!