LinkedIn: Searching for Something

October 5, 2015

LinkedIn is aimed at several different audiences. Each is interdependent just like the tree of life in my 9th grade biology text book. I want to use the word symbiotic, but I keep thinking of parasitic.

LinkedIn appeals to organizations who want to hire people to help generate revenues. The people looking for work use LinkedIn to find full time, part time, or any time labor. The companies selling products and services are looking at the companies as customers. The people looking for work are eager to demonstrate their money making potential.

The result is a maelstrom of people, posts, chat groups, and marketing.

LinkedIn, according to the write up “LinkedIn Agrees to Settle Unwanted Email Lawsuit,” reports:

LinkedIn was announcing that it had agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over sending unwanted emails. The lawsuit revolves around LinkedIn’s Add Connections feature, which would send out connection requests to people in a user’s contact list who did not already have a LinkedIn account. Users had to agree to send out that first connection request, but LinkedIn would then follow up with up to two more “reminder emails” if there was no response. The lawsuit alleges that users did not consent to LinkedIn sending those additional emails, nor give LinkedIn permission to use their names and images in them.

We’ll see. I have received some interesting LinkedIn emails since one of the goslings set up an account, posted the titles of some of my articles, and began to fill in some of the information LinkedIn requires its “members” to provide. I think the picture of me dates from the 1990s. I am not sure because I rely on a couple of people to read messages and do the housekeeping required of a “person” who uses the service for free.

The LinkedIn mail goes directly into a junk folder. If something surfaces, one of the goslings alerts me. If I have the zip, I suggest a way to respond. I think I offered a Latin quip in response to one company’s blabbing about its superior ranking awarded by a mid tier consulting company. Okay, just not the big leagues, was it. The quip, which I dictated from memory, suggests that tooting one’s horn can be annoying.

That Latin quote from Martial who died in 101 CE, elicited emails, gossip at conferences, and a personal email enjoining me to be a much kinder and gentler goose. I told the goslings to use their judgment.

I also received an email from a person whom I did not know wanting to buy me dinner at the best restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Is that an oxymoron. Lyon maybe. But Louisville, not unless I know the person. I am not exactly angling for trouble. When my suggestion of a phone call did not work out, the stranger offered to hook me up with a colleague when I was in Montréal. Well, that’s pretty stupid. If I won’t meet a stranger where I live, what are the chances I will meet a stranger in a foreign country? One of the goslings pointed out to the LinkedIn member who was the motor in this meet up drifting that his résumé on LinkedIn left out some of his employment history. Technologist? Nope, sales person. The response the person sent to my “persona” was, “Never write me again.” Er, who started the email chain. Was this person stalking me? Was this person looking for a job? Is this person aberrant? I took no chances with a free meal at the Dizzy Whiz.

Then there was a person who wanted to code up her own enterprise search system. I wrote back and suggested the person use either an open source or commercial system. The likelihood of losing her job would be reduced. The offended LinkedIn member located my “real” email address and wrote me a nastygram about my failure to recognize the capabilities of females in the technical world. Well, okay.

Weekly I receive offers to get a month free of the “real” LinkedIn. I get notices of thought leaders’ musings posted to LinkedIn. I receive emails which I have never opened. Junk remember. Some of these emails are from people who want to be my friend.

I don’t know about you, but it shows pretty poor judgment to chase a person who is 71 years old, appearing on LinkedIn as part of project that ended three or four years ago, and whose participation is handled by intermediaries.

My take on the LinkedIn service is that it is probably useful for people who want to network, job hunt, locate customers, and preen their features.

Pumping out unwanted emails is obviously not something that one court thought was okay. There are some other issues with the company as well. One of the goslings told me that listing articles I have written on my bio page is really obtuse.

There you go. My hunch is that LinkedIn finds customers for the data it has harvested from the young seeds planting content in the system. Perhaps LinkedIn will buy Peeple.

And have you ever tried to search LinkedIn? One of the goslings found the information access system wanting. Why? Well, email takes priority.

Stephen E Arnold, October 5, 2015


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