I opted-in to LinkedIn shortly after it’s founding in 2003, having seen a URL to it on the business card of a “consultant”–handed to me during the coffee break of a SHRM networking event. I began seeing similar references on resumes, embedded in emails and on websites over the next year.
What I also noticed over the course of that year was that individuals purporting to be “consultants” were invariably the same people who stood up to be recognized at SHRM meetings during the “In-Transition” sessions. In short, the appellation “consultant” was a euphemism for “unemployed.”
This was underscored by a ramping-up of solicitations for employment in my inbox. The promise of the “professional social network” that lured me in was offset by phishing and pestering for job opportunities that I did not have to offer. LinkedIn was more like FaceBook for the unemployed.
My concerns mounted. Not everyone was actively engaged on LinkedIn back then, which caused me weight the investment of time required to keep the site current. I already had an institutional corporate point of presence that people were pinging. The overhead of synching it with a personal point of presence seemed redundant.
Privacy and reputation concerns also loomed. Variants on my digital dossier popped up without my approval or endorsement. Individuals and institutions were harvesting obsolete data about me from a growing number of competing sites. Transcription errors were also introduced into the process.
Having enough of that, I LinkedOut in 2012.
Around 2017, things changed. I stumbled onto a YouTube video of Reed Hoffman addressing many of the aforementioned concerns, and mentioning how network effects had kicked in with widespread adoption of the platform. I was able to scope out prospective tenants, business acquaintances, names in the news, investigate consulting opportunities, track the latest business news. Most importantly, in adding employment opportunity functionality, the phishing for a job mechanic was offloaded from subscribers to the platform. It was like cutting a hole in a fence next door so people no longer had to trespass through your lot to get to the store.
The incorporation of LyndaDotCom (now LinkedIn Learning) into the platform made it a no-brainer.
I LinkedIn again, this time for good.