The Long Overdue LinkedIn Backlash


We’ve all known this for a long time, but I don’t remember anyone actually saying it out loud: Have you ever noticed how it’s always the most industrious LinkedIn users who are the very last people you’d actually recommend in a genuine network of trust?

The most ruthless networkers, climbing every last tenuous connection like an insidious vine. Grasping for unearned advantage at every node. Can you introduce me to so-and-so? If you link to me, I’ll have over 500 connections, think how popular that will make me look. My preciousss connectivity. Somehow, this kind of behaviour also correlates well with other repugnant activities, like spamming. Some people just have no conception of how their actions change the world around them for better or worse, and hence act as though they had no responsibilities to the community around them.

One final spam this morning broke the camel’s back. I’ve asked him not to do it before, both personally, and via the captcha screen he disingenuously filled in to get onto my whitelist. So it’s time for LinkedIn to start pulling its weight. I notice there is no mechanism to add a negative recommendation via LinkedIn, so I’ve been forced to add him as a connection and then leave a suitable-worded positive one. Hopefully it still conveys my intended semantic.

It may be that publicly dissing a recruiter is not the wisest of career moves, and maybe James will get retaliatory. I weighed that up for a while, and decided I can risk that. I don’t operate on appearance. I operate on substance. I can take it. Some things are right, and some things are wrong, and It’s time to take a stand.

Unfortunately, even this is a half-hearted measure – I think James needs to approve it for it to be attached to his profile, and that seems unlikely from my perspective. Who knows, though? Maybe he’s actually a stickler for accurate representation who relishes feedback.

So this got me thinking. Forget LinkedIn – it’s clearly designed to appeal to vacuous self-congratulators. What attributes would we want from a *real* network of trust? Clearly some mechanism for leaving public negative feedback would be one of them. Can that be done in a way that can’t be abused? What else does it need?

4 thoughts on “The Long Overdue LinkedIn Backlash

  1. i wholeheartedly agree! i was so angered to see that my ex-boss (the worst that i had ever had) was praised by a colleague to have been ‘loved by those she managed’. HA! absolutely not the truth and a fact a that her future employers would be keen to know–not a good manager! LinkedIn shall soon be the new MySpace–ignored.

  2. Jonathan,
    Good to see you are alive still on the other side of the world old friend!

    As always, your outlook on tthings and subsequent interpretation falls with the accuracy of a sniper.

    Self congratulation. Ah, yes. The strongest form of promotion is that done by a third party, unwarranted, unencouraged. But these sites are primarily for self promotion – which must be taken with a grain of salt.

    As I slowly learn how to operate this “myspace of the business world” I’ll……well…..heck, I’ll probably do nothing, I hardly have time to log in, it’ll sit idle like all the other time consuming sites everyone wants you to join that yeild no benefit.

    A true network of trust? Those who keep in touch in REAL LIFE.

    Let me know how you’ve been, and the latest current events!
    We are long overdue for a beer.


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  4. Wonderful! Although your “recommendation” doesn’t show up on James’s profile page, it did appear in my “Network updates” when I logged in just now :-)

    I’ll email you a screenshot.

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