My love/hate relationship with LinkedIn

Image by Binpodo — The Noun Project

To start with, I am so sorry that you have received an automatic invitation to subscribe my LinkedIn newsletter, ‘Chalkboard Thoughts’. It’s incredible that LinkedIn who has so many rules around inviting people to connect, can allow for everyone to be spammed with newsletter invitations. I stopped writing articles on LinkedIn some time ago, because basically the articles went into a black hole and received zero engagement.

The same happens with all new developments on LinkedIn, initially there’s a surge and people are excited and engaged and after that it slows, reduces and eventually completely stops as the algorithm will eventually ignore it.

I guess they (LinkedIn) must have realised this over time and then opted for the newsletter approach, which exists now and has been rolled out to most of us. The only downside is that when you write the first article for your newsletter, your whole network gets invited to subscribe. For me it’s like spamming your whole network and there’s a risk that people will disconnect as a result of course. I hope you don’t but then again you are free to choose whatever action you wish, as it happens I’m not as interested anymore in growing my network, anywhere.

But…

There’s a way to stop the invitations. Go to settings>communications>who can reach you>invitations from your network, see image below and you simply toggle/slide the ‘off’ button. There are several options and there’s one specifically for the ‘invitations to subscribe to newsletters’.

Right, now that I have that out of the way, I can continue to share a bit of my LinkedIn story.

I actually joined LinkedIn in October 2004, but had no idea what LinkedIn was. It wasn’t until late 2008, that I realised the power of LinkedIn, the ability to build out a network, which meant you could potentially reach millions. You could call me an early adopter, I was with Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.

But slowly and surely I have fallen out of love with nearly all of these platforms. For now, I still have a soft spot for Twitter, but seeing all the ads in almost every other post, makes my heart sink every time I feel like scrolling, which isn’t that much these days. I regret having spent so many wasted hours, posting, scrolling and wasted hours commenting. It hasn’t amounted to anything. Thankfully I’ve never been sucked into the advertising model, phew, I did get close and even experimented here and there, but never embraced it. It could have costed me more wasted hours and money on top of that too.

I have seen so many different iterations of LinkedIn, the multiple apps they experimented with and even was at the forefront of their sales navigator experience with many false promises of becoming a recognised ambassador for the platform. Of course these things never happened.

All social media platforms have one thing in common and that’s to make a bucket load of money for their shareholders. Nothing less, nothing more. Us users are fooled into believing that we can use these platforms for free, but the simple fact is without us populating them with our personal and work data and also content, it means they wouldn’t be able to sell that data.

I know they all say they don’t sell our data, but if they aren’t, what are they actually selling? Our data is the only commodity and it has taken me quite a long time to realise this. Maybe it was the Cambridge Analytica scandal that made the penny finally drop, who knows.

Let’s take LinkedIn and our data. The largest income generator for LinkedIn is their recruitment platform or as they call it Talent Solutions. Before their takeover by Microsoft at least 65% of their turnover was from their Talent Solutions division. If they didn’t have our data to enable to market and sell that to corporations, they wouldn’t be able to deliver $6.5 Billion of turnover for that division, (estimated based on previous annual public report in 2016). LinkedIn’s turnover for year-ending June 30, 2021 was $10 Billion.

I get my fair share of spam through LinkedIn too, have spotted dozens of fake profiles and some of my connections have, without permission, added me to email lists. So much so that I’ve now hidden my email. But, we can’t be safe any longer, there are dozens if not more LinkedIn scraping tools, I discovered one only weeks ago and highlighted it to them. They don’t even give you a thank you! Their first reaction is to suggest that you can block or disconnect from your network, which actually means nothing, scraping tools aren’t interested in this. This particular company specialises in scraping Sales Navigator a premium section within the LinkedIn ecosystem that obviously is easier to hack into. I’ve seen videos showing step by step instructions on how to achieve this, providing of course you pay handsomely for their software. Feel free to read my spam report on my blog:

We are now all so locked-in to social media and LinkedIn is no exception. I even have heard famous celebrities, comedians and politicians talk about LinkedIn, everyone knows what it is, although not everyone knows how to use it and that’s why you have another ecosystem of trainers, I used to be one too! I even created an online training course on Udemy, LinkedIn Lectures. Don’t worry I am not trying to promote it.

What I intend to share in these ‘Chalkboard Thoughts’ newsletters are my own thoughts about anything I think might be worth writing about. Recently I started cracking down on spammers and have several articles as a consequence of putting spam under the spotlight. You can read them all here: https://stayingaliveuk.com/blog.

That’s all for now folks, happy newsletter unsubscribing.

ps. As I clicked the ‘create a newsletter’ button at the top of my post, I was presented with an option, to untick ‘invite my connections and followers to subscribe’, see image below. So little did I know that there was a way to stop spamming your connections. Therefore all the ones I received from my connections and a whole bunch of them were LinkedIn trainers and if they had that option at the time, they chose to ignore it. So do I ignore it too or do I spam my connections. Decisions, decisions. Well, I made the decision to invite for better or for worse, for the simple fact that I wanted to share with you all how you can ensure that you stop the invitations in your settings and share some transparency.

If you are interested in subscribing to my LinkedIn newsletter, just click the link below and click subscribe.

Originally published at https://www.stayingaliveuk.com on November 22, 2021.

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Whiteboard Animations Producer, Storyteller and Podcast Host at Staying Alive UK Storytelling Productions | www.stayingaliveuk.com

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Michael de Groot

Michael de Groot

Whiteboard Animations Producer, Storyteller and Podcast Host at Staying Alive UK Storytelling Productions | www.stayingaliveuk.com

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