IT Employment

LinkedIn: What have you done?

LinkedIn, once a social media tool for professionals, has changed its course somewhat with spammy emails.

There are seriously not enough hours in the day to maintain a significant presence on all the social networks out there. So it's a little aggravating when one member of the social media regime steps up its email notifications, like LinkedIn has recently.

Back in November, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner denied that the company was sending an abnormally large number of emails. He said, "People feel like they're seeing more email, but that's not really the case." I'm not sure about that.

Maybe I expect a little more out of LinkedIn. But in the last couple of days, I got a congratulatory email telling me that I was "one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!" This I seriously doubt. I'm wondering if this is not some kind of a psychological play on their part. In other words, if you find out you're good at something that you didn't know about, then it gives you a little boost to go look at it again. And there's a click for LinkedIn. But then I'm cynical.

One thing that I may be cynical about that deserves the cynicism is the new LinkedIn "endorsement." LinkedIn now allows anyone to endorse anyone for their skills. I've always looked at LinkedIn as Facebook's employed cousin so it was a little disconcerting to all of a sudden start getting email notifications that people were "endorsing" me who A) had already endorsed me with something written in the past, B) who haven't work with me in 165 years, or C) were complete strangers who wouldn't be able to recognize one of my skills in a police lineup. In other words, something that had some meaning at one point is now completely meaningless. It is now the equivalent of a Facebook "Like."

And last, I think LinkedIn has played one of the lowest cards in the spam book. On your LinkedIn home page, you'll find a little mention of something like, "Your profile has been viewed by 5 people in the past 7 days," or "You have shown up in search results 21 times in the past 7 days." This is followed by a promo for LinkedIn Premium. Surely if the LinkedIn folks have a fully fleshed out product they've labeled Premium, then they could highlight some of its other features, perhaps those that appeal to a more professional need than to see who's been stalking you. I don't like a professional organization whose come-ons pertain to the lowest common denominator, especially when it has better things to brag about.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

95 comments
richard.b.fowler
richard.b.fowler

I've been on LinkedIn for a few years, and many of the discussions I have read or participated in have been informative and, for the most part, professional. I have not endorsed anyone, and don't really care about the endorsements others have made concerning my skills. I much preferred the "expert" points one received by providing the best answer to someone's question -- alas, LinkedIn removed that feature last month. But since my professional interests span a number of fields, LinkedIn provides me with one site to discuss finance, technology, risk management, manufacturing, quality, etc. I just use it when I want information, share what I feel appropriate, and ignore the rest. Not unlike what I do with television commercials...

M.W.H.
M.W.H.

I knew the tide had turned when I got a notification the other day that one of my professional colleagues had changed their profile picture. I cannot think of anything less important to my professional relationship with other folks than the fact that they changed their profile picture. Are we all 13 years old now?

lassiter12
lassiter12

My thoughts exactly! I just got one asking if I knew myself and the same woman whose name was listed twice. I also go the endorsement page on a couple of people. Now the big catch is, I have a number of friends on this LI thing, but I haven't used it to contact them once. How are you people actually using this that can't be done with email or FB messages?

mazin75
mazin75

actually I also got an email telling me that I'm one of the first 500,00 people in my country who koined linkedin !!! if I'm within the first 500,00 so ne need to Congratulate me at all.

i_tiberius
i_tiberius

it's like the Faced-book game but it's a Bigger, Better, Black Hole for your time!

lastminute.com
lastminute.com

Congrats Toni - I think you have voiced what nearly every person who joined LinkedIn during the early years is now thinking. As a networking tool for professionals and for distinct disciplines I think LinkedIn still has a lot to offer - but it is in danger of 'over exposure' and thus losing it's credibility. It needs to regain its exclusivity and standing i.e. less chat and superficial nonsense and more integrity and air of specialisation . Jeff Weiner needs to take stock now - otherwise serious industry networks & professionals will take their business identity elsewhere.

Walthy
Walthy

I think Spiceworks is the best IT related site on the Internet.

mikef12
mikef12

It's good to see this recognized and publicized.

Prescott_666
Prescott_666

I never completed the registration for Linkedin. When I got to the place where they asked for the password to my email account I said F you and quit the registration.

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

I also wanted to mention that I've tried to contact LinkedIn on many occasions. Not only is it nearly impossible to FIND a means of contact, but when you do fill out the e-form with a question or complaint, all you get is a canned email saying that the email was received. Then, nothing but crickets.

iain_stuart
iain_stuart

I have never really understood what it was for. I tried joining the groups but the ones in my profession Archaeology and Heritage got taken over by spammers offering job and lunatics taking the discussion off into the weeds. I and several others tried to point out posts that were off topic by the so called moderator simply didn't moderate and as there are other groups that are better I stopped looking in. The endorsements are useless especially for a site that claimed to be for "professionals" it simply devalued any claim to be professional.

NickPod
NickPod

Yes, I wish someone would create a web site designed for business' to network that was clean of marketing assaults and not like Facebook. They could call it LinkedIn.

miacovelli
miacovelli

Totally agree regarding the endorsements. They are worse than Facebook likes, as a "like" does not convey the same depth of support as an "endorsement". It isn't difficult to see the feature is largely useless, yet it is such a significant part of the LinkedIn UI now. When something doesn't work --- kill it. Or suspend it and relaunch it. But to let it go as long as they have tarnishes the stellar reputation of the service.

benskid
benskid

I recently accepted an invitation to LinkedIn because I had heard it had a decent reputation and thought it couldn't hurt to have a presence even though I am mostly retired. I was disappointed to find out my contacts lists were pillaged and used to send invitations to everyone, apparently, whose email address I had ever glimpsed at. Made some interesting reconnects, but overall was embarrassed that I had bothered so many people.

kengharthun
kengharthun

Being on LinkedIn has never really done anything for me as far as I can tell. Perhaps I don't use it right or something. Maybe it's something that takes active participation. No one has ever contacted me about an opportunity and said "I saw your information on LinkedIn." I get requests from Dice and CareerBuilder all the time. And someone endorsing me for a skill that they don't have really means nothing to me. You're an accountant and you're endorsing me for Network Security? Um, what do you know about that. It would be like me endorsing someone for their excellent mortgage lending skills. Pretty useless.

chiefski76
chiefski76

I agree with this article; guess I’m glad to be retired and don’t have to count on LinkedIn for professional networking. Too bad, it’s a shame that for the next generation that it’s not the resource it used to be!

lishchuk
lishchuk

No company avoids this law. Once upon a time microsoft and google were young and progressive, now they are old, cynical and nasty with uncountable numbers of useless managers. LinkedIn was the only company, I gave out my real email addresses...

Lee Shardlow
Lee Shardlow

It’s a little sad, but we put ourselves out there so I suppose we have to put up with a little crap.

RealGem
RealGem

If you want to see what LinkedIn has really become, you should try to moderate a large group. I moderated one that had over 40k members, so naturally it was a target for spammers. The problem is that LinkedIn doesn't give you any tools to help identify spammers. Once you add them into the group, they start spamming until you kick them. But those are the obvious ones ... the ones that post resume writing ads everywhere. They make one post and you kick them. The real problems are the "IT Recruiters". They post a gajillion IT jobs, but only some are relevant to the group. As a service to the group, you want to keep them. But deleting 80% of their posts is time consuming. I would spend 15 minutes per day moderating groups, and that was only doing a slap-dash job. I would have to send a warning to these people advising them that they were breaking the group rules. But there was no way to track who had been warned. LinkedIn needs a three-strike rule. First spam - warning. Second spam - warning & you posts must be approved. Third spam - kicked. LinkedIn is worse than Facebook for this kind of crap. I'm on both; Facebook delivers on what it advertises. LinkedIn does not - it's not for professionals. It's for spammers and job seekers.

Gisabun
Gisabun

What was mentioned isn't as bad as the number of spam not from LinkedIn but within groups you belong to. The group was getting messages with rediculous titles such as "Word 2012 Study Guide" and a link. Never tried the link but I'm sure it was something other than a study guide. These were posted by "people" who had an empty profile. No [real] job. No information. This has been going on for months and there is no way for the moderator to hold off on posts by newbees until he moderates. So this crap goes through. While at it, the endorsement for individual areas of expertise is useless. I've got endorsements for certain areas that they never saw me use. Stick with the actual worded endorsements. Don't be surprise if they add some type of real time chat service.

2uWrangler
2uWrangler

I can't really speak to more email, and by that I assume you mean unsolicited email. I also got that “one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” . I smiled and deleted it. I get a lot of email from LinkedIn, because I subscribe to a lot of different interest groups; primarily in the IBM z/OS systems 'arena'. I participate in topic discussions If I find them intelligent and uplifting, and they are for the most part. I also from time to time respond to requests for advice, when I feel I can give the requestor some guidance. Therefore I do get a fair amout of email notifications from LinkedIn. But, as they used to say in the military(when I was in 128 lbs ago) regarding receiving mail. "You want letters? You gotta write letters.."

barrynovak5
barrynovak5

I agree with all the comments. LinkedIn has been great for recruiters finding me (at least when I was unemployed/looking for work). It's also great for getting to know a new work acquaintance 'from a distance'--by reading their profile; and vice-versa. But it seems that to LinkedIn executives, the profile is the least important part of the web site now.

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

I have been complaining about this for a while now but no one is listening. The worse thing is that while Linkedin is devaluing themselves they are taking everyone else down with them!!

ddalley
ddalley

On a recommendation of a friend, I made a LI account. After seeing the shenanigans they pull, and realizing that I had no business being with them, I soon deleted my account. Not that LI liked that, as they kept reminding me that people still wanted my association. There aren't enough hours in a day to deal with that crap. Good riddance!

phscnp
phscnp

Google puts all LinkedIn mail in my spam folder and says something like "we can't tell if this is legit." This is so convenient I have not tried to fix it.

docbillnet3
docbillnet3

Linked in has been spamming for much more than the last few months. I made the mistake once of providing them access to my gmail contact list. They spammed absolutely everyone who EVER e-mailed in my name. Tens of thousands of people... This included people in mailing lists and such, where I never had any direct contact with them, until later when they contacted me and I had to apologize for the spam. That is when I swore off linkedin forever.

mwhite
mwhite

I believe at least half of the email that looks like it comes from linked in is actually professional spammers spoofing linked in

jilindi
jilindi

I was slow to join Linked In, but finally did when I began consulting because the potential for finding future contract work seemed real. I have never made a penny based on someone finding me on Linked In. I have connected with past associates that eventually led to real job opportunity and income. If the premium (fee based) membership appealed to more than my curiosity about who has been looking at my profile, I might spend the money. But "who is stalking you" is all I remember from their sales promotions. In practice I've detected that contacting people is being restricted more and more, supposedly motivated by privacy concerns. But amazingly, these restrictions could be lifted by joining the premium membership. Money is the true motivation for creating restrictions. When the restrictions are increased enough to make communications impossible, then I will need to decide to pay or quit. The endorsements are a joke. I have asked no one for an endorsements and don't display my "unsolicited" endorsements and I refuse to reciprocate endorsements. I laughed when I saw some members "Experience" now shows endorsements rather than employment history. Talk about a meaningless smoke screen. While I feel that Linked In can provide some value in that I might reap what I have sown, the harvest is getting choked off by more and more weeds.

RDWII
RDWII

but now I know for sure that others ae finding the "endorsements" and "You are one of the top x% . . . " messages to be as bogus as _I_ am. I have never been one to collect "scalps" just to run up my connection numbers and I have often commented against those who do just try to run up a "big score" in connections. I always thought of LinkedIn as a grown-up's professional networking site but I am thinking more and more that it is just another FaceBook cloaked in a "professional networking" wrapper. I probably won't totally abandon LinkedIn but I _have_ totally lost respect for it.

Diana8
Diana8

There’s so many aspects of LinkedIn that I find irritating that it’s difficult to focus on one. But here’s another I’d like to add to the list: too many groups on the same topic. Apparently the marketing gurus out there determined that every professional needs his own group as part of building a “tribe.” For instance, I am a freelance writer specializing in the insurance industry. There are too many groups to count on insurance marketing, insurance professionals, insurance sales and variations on these themes. This fragments participation on LinkedIn. It adds to the work required to track relevant groups. But worst of all, it tempts people to post the same thing over and over and over. The best feature of LinkedIn is the profile. I use it to get a handle on what a person of interest is all about, similar to a resume. When someone is not on LinkedIn at all, I find it sort of strange and wonder what the person is up to—or more likely, what they are not up to, such as not marketing (if they are self-employed). -Diana

MikeRigsby
MikeRigsby

LinkedIn is essentially a total joke now. At best I use it to read up on a Local tech group to see what the various tech related chatter is in my specific area. Beyond that I go to it out of habit or morbid curiousity than anything. They're the social media equivilant to a road side accident. Everyone is just 'rubber necking', checking it out, as they go by to somewhere more useful.

monicabower
monicabower

I was reluctant to join up back in 2007 because even then it seemed mostly like an ideal way for B2B advertisers to put out a lot of advertising. I already know my business colleagues, I don't need a website to collect them all together for someone else to peruse depending on my privacy settings. It still has some value as a way to keep peripherpal people in your orbit - freelancers that you couldn't do a deal with this time but maybe next time, etc. If they have an endorsement feature they should also have a 'non-endorsement' feature that removes one unit of endorsement. It's amazing what some people say they are skilled in, that I know they have no clue about.

Larmoyeux
Larmoyeux

I too am getting a lot more emails, endorsements from friends who don't actually know if I have the skill, and excessive requests to join the premium. Just what I need.... I will say this though in defense of my friends. I am deeply appreciative of their willingness to endorse me. It is a very kind gesture. I am just opposed to the way LinkedIn encourages this practice without allowing for a more thoughtful or worthy endorsement.

dreamspirit1
dreamspirit1

In today's world, this is called a "new" way to make money.

justin.donie
justin.donie

I've been an active member now for several years and I haven't seen any change in activity on my end. For me, it's been business as usual. I've gotten a steady, low volume stream of emails all along the way. I get updates on contacts changes, occasional requests to endorse or notifications of endorsements, and the odd message from a contact now and then. That's about it. Certainly nothing that feels taxing. Perhaps you're more "special" to LinkedIn than you realize.

Caladan607
Caladan607

I too am disappointed in how LinkedIn in lowering itself to a common spamming advertiser. I find my respect for LinkedIn dropping. While still somewhat more respectable then Facebook, they are working hard to wipe out professional respect by becoming just another low-life spammer using vague leads to entice sales of what are probably questionable products. I am very disappointed in the direction LinkedIn is heading and will reduce my participation in their site.

s.t
s.t

I agree with Toni. Never trusted the linkedIn endorsments but for some time i've thinked that linkedIn was a social in the business field but now ... they have changed theirs course and i think that they are trying to monetize their "work" in a "facebook" manner. Like the author of this article, in the last 2 week i've received a beautiful email (an envelope with the stamp in wax) where they told me that i'm one of the first 500.000 italian members and now the LinkedIn comunity count 200.000.000 of members. So what? the first thought is that it was simply a marketing operation ...

rvaccare
rvaccare

I wish LinkedIn would take note of this article, because it is becoming very annoying.

146884
146884

You said you had a communication from Linkedin saying “one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” and that you "seriously doubt" it. You're right, because this e-mail did not come from Linkedin. I had a similar one and it was a very persuasive, official looking phishing message. Look at the links on it - they contain "http://e.linkedin.com/....", instead of "http://www.linkedin.com/.... Beware !

michael.daley
michael.daley

To agree with what Toni said, Should it be called "LIKed-In"??

jean.gerrekens
jean.gerrekens

Hi, I fully agree with you, I feel that the more activity there is on LinkedIn, the less value it has. What is acceptable on Facbook, because thet's 'just the way it is", I expect a more professional behaviour from this network. BTW, I was in the top 5 of viewed profiles as well - not very credible indeed. regarding the endorsements, it says as much on the people who click blindly as on the site itself. I must say that so far, I have only been asked to endorse people I was connected to, but of course, that does not mean I know all theirs skills. My principle is: if I know for sure, I endorse. If I don't know, or worse, if I feel it's not correct, I ignore. Cheers, Jean

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's gone well past in danger of over exposure, weathered carcass, only really hungry carrion eaters are interested in.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You can't say that on TR. Prepare to be moderated. :) Saying that the way this place is going to the dogs, probably worth a look... Having second thoughts now, this could prompt a 11 reasons why TR is better than Spiceworks post. :(

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

they were asking for a password to go with it on linked in not the password of it. As to why we went on. In my case people I respected said it was a useful networking tool. If they are still saying it, I shall lose some respect for them...

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

I'm seeing lots of comments on contact lists. When you join LI you're shown all the standard e-mail clients and asked for your username and password for each one. And you're encouraged even after you join to 'share.' There are ample 'promises' that your password won't be retained and the purpose is, just like Facebook and all the other social networks, to gain access to your contact list. They want to see who is there and, in this case, a LinkedIn member. Those people are contacted and asked if they want to become one of your contacts. For Facebook, it's an invitation to become a 'friend.' NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PASSWORD - period. When I consider who I have on my contact list, most are professionals .. I do NOT want them getting spammed to a social networking site or notified that it's my birthday. Facebook, Twitter, other social networking sites .. and now LinkedIn .. have lowered the standards of interpersonal/professional relations. We are all lessened by the outcome.