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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!


  1. Whether you’re linked in or linked out I know it’s the way forward especially in terms of seeking new employment and a number of recruitment agencies I have spoken to about it feel threatened by the opportunities linkedin provides for direct contact and therefore rendering the agents redundant. If I wasn’t seeking new employment I would probably look at it far less.

  2. Bonni, I completely agree with you on LI having lost not only its novelty, but also some of its value. While it is still a great tool when searching for both candidates and careers, and I do believe that more companies should take advantage of the vast candidate pool it has to offer, there needs to be some sort of generally-accepted etiquette that users should follow.

    I, too, am often bombarded with random invitations from people I don’t even know, with no explanation other than the standard LI text. Many use the “sharing a group” option to connect, making me hesitant to stay in some of these larger groups; or worse, they use the “friend” option when I have never met them!

    On the flipside, I do try to stay active on LI and connect with others… however, I learned early on to include a polite note when inviting someone I don’t know or don’t know well, referencing someone or something we have in common.

    It’s time for LinkedIn Etiquette 101:
    Delete the standard invitation text and make it personal.
    Do not invite others only to ask if they can get you a job–remember the golden adage of first offering YOUR help before ever asking for a favour…
    And at the very least, try and select only those open to connecting with strangers (LIONs in LinkedIn lingo) before shooting off a request!

  3. First off…great blog today. I took some time out from sorting through my LinkedIn updates to read it…LOL….just kidding!

    You know what I find interesting is that it seems that most people (correct me if I’m wrong) start with the default “updates” settings when they start using a tool like LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter…and then slowly scale back their updates when they start to get overwhelming. Me…I’ve never been like that. Once I start using something like the aforementioned, I start of with almost no updates and work my way up…that way I dictate what I see and when. But that’s just how I roll! Perhaps its a control thing?

    As for the invitation requests…I agree. The Golden Rule, as it was explained to me early on, was to never use the standard greeting…always personalize it. On that note, I am not even close to an open-networker (not that there is anything wrong with that!)…if someone doesn’t give me a quick reason why they want to connect, I will ask them why. I want to know “what’s in it for them”…”how can I be of value to you”.

    Fortunately, I do not get bombarded with requests to connect…perhaps not many people like me 🙁

    Anyhow…I’m not “LinkedOut” yet. I’m kind of in the LinkedComfortable stage.

    Cya at the 2012 HRPA Conference!!

    • LOL great commentary, Tim!!

      Love your approach to using social media, but I must ask: how exactly does one start with no updates rather than the “bombard” option? 😉

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