LinkedIn: bad for business8/20/2014
When you run down the reasons for being on different social networks, so many are clear as day; Facebook connects you with friends and family, Twitter gives us insight into public discourse, and Pinterest illuminates the creative works of the world. For these and a handful of others, the utility of their site is obvious. However, for every thriving network, there are half a dozen useless sites. Topping the list of trivial online communities is LinkedIn
Before you get indignant, I freely admit that I — like 300 million others — have a profile that I occasionally update on LinkedIn. At first blush, the utility of the site makes sense: a network for job seekers and business professionals allowing them to network (in the way your dad and college career counselor champion). Thousands of companies use the site to promote their brand and allow job seekers to follow their career opportunities.
The problem is, outside of providing a forum to host your resume online, everything LinkedIn offers is undercut by its social peers. Practically every company has a footprint on Facebook or Twitter, so following them on LinkedIn seems superfluous. Also, connections on Facebook and Twitter are much more meaningful, as these spaces allow for more purposeful interactions and relationship building. LinkedIn connections are generally ceremonial and don’t lead to lasting affiliations. Lastly, the jobs posted on LinkedIn are almost always links to company sites for more information and require off-LinkedIn applying, negating the need for LinkedIn.
What’s really bad is everyone knows this, but we’re all too anxious to cut the cord. Everyone, that is, except the stock market. Since its IPO release in 2011, LinkedIn stock has gone on a roller coaster ride. The site’s inability to steadily grow revenue or offer users a useful product to purchase has scared investors. Its stock price may be high but LNKD always seems to be considered a “sell.”
The good news for LinkedIn is the network’s future is relatively safe. As underwhelming as its benefits are, the alternatives (Monster, CareerBuilder,) are even worse. So don’t shudder your account just yet, but PLEASE don’t upgrade to a premium account. Those are 100 percent worthless. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.