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On behalf of a client I was recently talking with an executive at LinkedIn. We were trying to establish a performance-based test programme for advertising on LinkedIn, but there is no such service available. We were advised we’d need a minimum spend of $40,000. The client chose to spend her money elsewhere.

During the conversation, the executive asked why I was calling and I explained I was contracting for the client. She then exclaimed, “but it’s not on your LinkedIn profile“. To which I stated “I’m surprised you believe everything you read on people’s profiles on LinkedIn. Why would I document every skerrick of my working life on LinkedIn?

Obviously as she works for LinkedIn, she lives LinkedIn. But the rest of the world doesn’t. And assuming that just because something is online therefore it must be true, is naive to say the least.

I’m not accusing LinkedIn users of fraud – my profile contains nothing fraudulent BTW:) It’s just that like all social networks, there are levels of information people will reveal and it varies by individual. How can you learn everything you need to know about someone from a simple “profile” form? For example, I would never risk employing someone just from their LinkedIn profile alone – very risky indeed. Though it’s a reasonable first step to learn something about them.

I find LI (let’s call it LI to save typing) quite useful. I use it to connect to people I already know, or with whom I may do business at some point. Though I have known many of my connections for years. At the moment, I’m using some of my connections for research for my next book. I guess the main reason we all connect is for our individual benefit, not the benefit of others?

My blog gets automatically posted on LI (among other sites), so you could well be reading this post via LI.

And though I don’t read much of what’s posted on LI (mainly due to my A.S.S. Time) I have recently noticed a change in the type of “content” posted in the news feed.

As you are probably aware, the majority of the content is simply re-postings of other people’s content. Very few people create original content. And that’s one of the purposes of online networks – to share other people’s content.

But lately the content seems to have moved from links to useful business articles, interviews, research or publications, to postings that have nothing to do with business or even careers. They seem to fall into two categories:

  • images of glib motivational statements or a single joke
  • personal thoughts or images more suitable for FB

Here are a couple in my feed last week:

image 1

I’m sure those who posted them had good intent and I don’t mean to offend them, but am curious why they would appear on LI, when they look more suited to FB?

The concern is that if these sort of posts start to grow, then the value of spending time on LI will decline. And just as people are leaving FB due to the ads and chewing-gum-for-the-brain posts that are now dominating it, the consequence for LI is that people will stop using it for similar reasons.

Or maybe LI will morph into a sort of Facebook with a necktie – combining business and personal “content” to help people while away the hours at the office.

LinkedIn - Facebook with a neck tie

LinkedIn – Facebook with a neck tie

Am I off the mark here? I have asked a handful of colleagues, who agreed they had also noticed the subtle shift in content type. Let’s know your thoughts please.

Or if you have any jokes you want to send me…