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LinkedIn: the Facebook for professionals?

It is undeniable that LinkedIn has transformed the way the professional community interacts with one another, shares corporate news, interesting data and - with a growing frequency - humorous anecdotes. We create a public profile, an opportunity to connect with those that we know, it allows us to broadcast whatever is on our minds, upload images and ‘like’ or comment on the posts of others. Sounds familiar? 

So how do you feel about the posting of random stuff on LinkedIn that has nothing to do with work? Do we just embrace LinkedIn as a Facebook for the white collar crowd or should we keep it sacrosanct and strictly for the purposes of professional communication?  

Well, I imagine we kick the hornet’s nest of opinion here. I’m certainly a fan of fun in the workplace but surely we must keep it separate to the professional network?  

Networks are extremely important, especially to me since that is how I earn a living. Presumably everyone works hard to cultivate a network through tenacity and growing credibility with target audiences. Think about it, do you want your connections witnessing you having a bash at trying to name as many alcoholic drinks as you can without the letter E in it, in the middle of the day?  

Another pet peeve of mine is the nonsensical, motivational stories that people share. By show of hands (or ‘likes’), who suddenly springs into action when reading in a feed - normally from a stranger - a broadcast of their feel-good story about how they came from nothing, but worked really hard for years and then achieved a result so profound that they bought a new Range Rover (pictured as well)?  

To me, LinkedIn is such an invaluable tool to reach people I previously wouldn’t have been able to. Many users spend a lot of money on subscriptions for the privilege of using the network to its full potential. Surely the last thing we need is the meaningful and useful posts becoming diluted in feeds of funny pictures, quizzes and word conundrums. That’s what Facebook is for! 

It is perhaps of little wonder that according to the Financial Times, LinkedIn’s stock value has plummeted by 50% this year, with analysts suggesting that LinkedIn will be remembered just “as a place for users to swap furtive notes with recruiters and spy on former colleagues”. An interesting note to garnish this suggestion is the fact that 62% of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from recruiters. 

I welcome your response to this.  

Anyway, must dash…. I’m off to take a selfie next to a Ferrari… that isn’t mine. 


Richard Lindsay is the Principal for TMT at Interim Partners. 

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