I’ve had a contentious relationship with Linkedin for a few years now. When I opened the account in 2007 it was at the recommendation of my supervisor, the marketing director of a tax firm (that was my first real white collar job). Everybody in the company created a profile, and for awhile it was a cool way to stay in touch with them after a big company layoff.
For years after that I continued to update and groom my profile because, “How could you not have a Linkedin?” It seemed as baked into our lives as a Facebook account. “What would people think of me as a marketer if I didn’t have one?” I asked myself a few times.
But then year after year a few things kept happening that pretty much sum up the entirety of my Linkedin experience:
- Basically no one I’m connected to actually signs into Linkedin regularly, so bothering to post updates there is a waste of time because no one really reads them.
- The only people that actually reach out to me there are sales people trying to shamelessly cram their product down my throat OR automated “Happy work anniversary” messages from people I’ve not talked to in years. People that don’t actually reply if I take that message as a token for a conversation.
- Because it’s insignificant for me to sign in regularly I stop, and deactivate notifications because otherwise Linkedin blows my phone up with unimportant things every five seconds. BUT THEN, because notifications are off and I rarely sign in, on the off chance someone actually does ask me a meaningful question I look like a jerk not replying to them for weeks.
I had a brief renewal in interest when I learned about Linkedin’s Profinder, where essentially you can be notified of people looking for someone with your skills when they have specific projects. However, this turned out to be a waste of time because everyone it put me in front of was either shopping for the cheapest possible vendor regardless of talent, or would act interested and then disappear.
In 2018 as I built a new business and got progressively busier, one thing became inescapably clear that I’d been ignoring until then: Linkedin had provided little to no value in 11 years. I’d tried to employ content tactics I use elsewhere regularly and successfully, and even followed the advice of a few different Linkedin coaches for how to present headlines and info on Linkedin to capture attention. But in 11 years of scraping, tweaking, posting, and interacting in groups, I had nothing I could point at to show for it except a nice looking profile.
As I’ve gone on something of a personal actualization journey the last few years, I’ve increasingly felt the weight of baggage in my life, of fluff that always feels good when it’s cut out.
If my entrepreneurial endeavors continue to be successful, I may never need to seek a traditional job again. And if that changes, my guess from what I’ve observed is that Linkedin will be less and less crucial to seize those opportunities. These days people are offered big jobs from growing a successful Youtube channel, or showing they mean business managing Facebook pages. Hell, I’ve even gotten gigs from writing on this personal blog.
In the same way that Seth Godin notably refused to open a Twitter account because he didn’t see the value in it for himself even when the whole internet was tripping over itself to join the platform, it struck me here that I needed to follow my heart. I’d kept my Linkedin profile for a long time because of that question: What would people think of me as a marketer if I didn’t have a Linkedin?
After reading Martin Geddes’ article on why he left Linkedin, I realized those questions were of little consequence. And hey, people might even see it as a forward-thinking move just like I did when Seth Godin talked about not being on Twitter.
As I clicked on the “Close My Account” button I felt relief. I could delete a bothersome app from my phone, and continue to focus my energy on what I’m best at, where those I’m trying to help are, and on what I enjoy most. Farewell, Linkedin.