The LinkedIn game

When I was RIFed, several past colleagues (both RIFed and unRIFed) sent me their LinkedIn details. Since I hadn’t paid it any attention before, I asked around and was told variously that it was useful, that it was potentially useful, and by one person that he expected to do most of his job-hunting there.

So I joined.

When last I checked, my LinkedIn home page breathlessly informed me that I had over 88,200 connections and that my network had recently expanded to include the Fishery industry. I don’t know that I care. I do know that I’m not planning on doing anything involving the Fishery industry (though I make no promises that I won’t), and I also know that the 88,200+ includes, but is not limited to, an Independent Ranching Professional and at least one Railroad Manufacture Professional. The LinkedIn premise of building “a powerful network of trusted professionals” so that I can “[t]ap into inside connections and information” wears a bit thin when the vast majority of my “network” are that far outside my sphere.

LinkedIn may be a useful place to keep your contacts’ information (provided the information doesn’t go the way of 700GB of PlusNet emails), but you’d still want a local copy if you’re writing email while offline.

LinkedIn’s real use may be for catching up with people that I used to know, the “Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates” part of their value proposition, but I have found that there’s many names for which I searched for which there is no match. I did discover Ikeda-san who I first met when I lived in Japan and did also find the name of someone who was RIFed from Sun Ireland last year. LinkedIn, however, doesn’t provide contact details until you have a “Connection”, so rather than issuing a LinkedIn “Invitation” and relying on the kindness of people in the USA to forward my invitation through multiple hops and back to Ireland, I used the old-fashioned technique of doing a web search to find him, and tomorrow I will use the old, old-fashioned technique of using the telephone to call him.

So LinkedIn mostly seems to me to be a large, multi-player computer game where you earn points in the game by making connections to increase the size of your network. My character in the game is a 15-contact Personal Account with 90% profile completeness, 33% network completion, 1 endorsement, and 88,200+ network points.