Jul 12, 2013

Friday Laughs: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a nice networking platform for professionals. However, some things are wrong with it. I like to share some thoughts on that.

I like the groups with the intensive exchange of ideas there, particularly these that gather experienced and knowledgeable people. However, these groups are taken over by users that treat them as a how-to forums and discussions are diluted by questions which answers could be easily be found on the Internet. Of course, it is a great idea to tap into the collective wisdom of experts but this wisdom could be channeled in a far better direction than to explaining basic staff to somebody lazy enough not to check the Internet.

Skills section in the profile is a great way to communicate some aspect of our experience and things we could do. Together with the endorsement functionality this forms the section that made me laugh hard many times and doubt the anything anybody says there. Some people have listed skills that they simply do not have. They have even been endorsed by somebody for them when actually they should be publicly punished for even mentioning in same sentence with their name! And sent to Siberia, of course. Everybody knows people with claims in their profile that have nothing to do with the reality of their skills and performance. For example, people put things as "strategy" when the only strategic job-related strategic decision is where to have lunch. Or the skill of managing something. We all manage something but in the case of many "management" skills in LinkedIn is the skill of managing to switch from Facebook to Youtube to the spreadsheet depending on the boss presence. I very much like the skill of "Business Intelligence. As most of the widely used terms, nobody ever spends the 30 seconds to check what they mean. I guess the line of though is "I work in company, so I am in the business. I am also very clever and intelligent. I need to put something flashy and buzz-word-y on my profile. Business Intelligence describes my titanic skills the best!". Yes, good! As a BI expert and practitioner I get quite irritated when somebody with basic understanding how to open an Excel spreadsheet is suddenly has business intelligence skills on their profile. Following this logic I have listed in the skills section of my profile "Commanding fleet of nuclear submarines". Why? Well, I have experience in military as an officer, a MSc in Nuclear physics and have seen all documentaries for the submarines and WW2 on History and Discovery channel. Oh, I also have seen Das Boot (recommended) and all the other movies with submarines and battle ships in it. Very good basis indeed.

Endorsement functionality also makes me doubt anything on this site. It is a good way to increase the weight of the skills on the profile but users endorse each other as a favor or simply because the endorsement screen pops out on the top of the page. Endorsement would mean something when the endorser has some knowledge in the field. How could anybody with no understanding of VBA programing could measure my knowledge in it? I see people get endorsed by users that do not have even the slightest idea of what is the thing is. Have you seen that? 

On LinkedIn nobody ever says anything. It is just the companies that post something and the recruiters that post available positions. Apart from that the only thing you could see is the reposted status update or link to something very clever someone said. And everybody posts updates from the big consulting companies and some big periodics. I rarely see anything not boring. Apart from the posts in groups I follow and but even there the good stuff  is minority.

Do not get me wrong - I like LinkedIn as it is a good place to find professionals that share your interests and problems. It is a great tool to broadcast to the world achievements and thoughts. Go to my profile and find same things to laugh at. I would not hear :)

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