LinkedIn Appreciation [en]

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of LinkedIn. And recently, I’ve been thinking about why that is the case.

When LinkedIn started out, it was really not much more than a glorified online resumé. Facebook and Twitter and blogs were much more alive, and I pretty much wrote it off (specially when French speakers were discovering it and pronouncing it leenk-euh-deen).

Since then, LinkedIn has evolved tremendously. I’ve spent some time on it recently, and I have to say the user experience has improved tremendously, the news feed is alive, and I really like the new “skill endorsements” (as opposed to “recommendations”, which usually serve to show how good you are at getting others to write nice things about you, rather than properly reflect your professional value).

LinkedIn actually managed to make these skill endorsements fun and pretty addictive. Go to a connection’s profile (here’s mine ;-)) and endorse any skill. You’ll find yourself with a box such as the ones below at the top of the page when you scroll back up.

Screenshot%203/24/13%2016:59

Screenshot%203/24/13%2016:58

I think this works because:

  • You are asked a very simple question: “Does Kevin know about blogging?” — yeah of course he does. Endorse.
  • Don’t know? Just hit the little cross and the problematic case (!) is replaced with a new one which you may be able to answer more easily. You don’t get stuck.
  • There is an element of “intermittent rewards” here: clicking “endorse” is satisfying, and you never know if the next question you’re going to be asked will be easy to deal with or not.
  • The skills and people you are asked to endorse are “random”, so there is little pressure to endorse all the skills of a connection, or any skill — the system gives you plausible deniability (your contact or that specific skill you didn’t endorse can simply not have showed up)
  • You are asked to endorse only a small aspect of a person’s skillset, participating in some kind of crowdsourced recommendation. It’s much less “costly” socially than a proper recommendation (not to mention cognitively lighter by a few factors of ten).

Back to why I’ve shown little interest in LinkedIn so far: I think a lot of it has to do with my status as a freelancer who

  • works a bit on the fringe of big business
  • has a very strong online presence (blog, Twitter, and Facebook, mainly)
  • has very intertwined personal and professional lives.

One of the characteristics of LinkedIn is that it is “100% professional” (quotes because, as I responded to a student yesterday, I don’t believe we are ever 100% professional; we are whole human beings who behave differently in different settings, but it’s only a matter of time until a cat photo finds its way into LinkedIn).

The “professional network” brand is reassuring for those who like to keep business and personal separate, but for those like me who don’t, it’s kind of boring. Facebook is way more fun. People are on Facebook anyway to share their cat photos, and in between a status update and a funny video, there are plenty of opportunities to bring up business. It’s part of our lives, after all.

However, this means that there is a pretty different population on LinkedIn than on Facebook. Who is your audience? Who are the people you are trying to connect to or be noticed by? Go where they are.

And even for me, I have to say it’s nice to have a chance to discover more about the professional lives of those I hang out with on Facebook. But that brings us back to the online resumé, which in itself is a pretty important thing: it means that in the age of LinkedIn, we can all be on the job market without being in job hunting mode. Before, we would polish up our CV when we felt the wind turn. Now, our LinkedIn profile is part of our online identity.

If you want to share what usefulness LinkedIn has had (or has!) for you personally, I’m interested in hearing about it — specially (but not only) if you’re a freelancer.

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Working on my Professional Site [en]

[fr] Je suis en train de donner un coup de peinture fraîche (enfin, plus qu'un coup de peinture, parce qu'il s'agit de contenu) à mon pauvre site professionnel. Qu'y mettre? Voilà la grande question. Donc, je brainstorme. Si ceci vous inspire des réflexions, n'hésitez pas. Je vais publier la liste en français dans mon prochain billet.

So, here I am at [WPD2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/26/wowipad1-and-wpd2-news/), giving [my poor professional site](http://stephanie-booth.com) a much-needed facelift. More than a facelift, actually — content rather than form is the subject of the day. Call it a complete overhaul.

I opened a mind-map and started brainstorming a bit. I’m really not sure what I’m going to put in this site, and how I’m going to present things. I must say I really like [Euan Semple’s professional site](http://www.euansemple.com/): simple and straight to the point.

Here’s a snapshot of the work in progress. Feedback welcome of course (which is why I’m blogging this). It’s brainstorm-like, and there are redundancies.

### what do I do?

– help people understand stuff about the internet (social media)
– teach people how to use social media
– help companies figure out what they can do with social media
– speak
– connect people
– I want to empower people to have a voice online
– I share my understanding of internet culture with those who need it
– I help companies rethink their communication strategy
– organise events
– get people started with blogging and associated tools
– introduce people to managing the technical aspects involved in installing and maintaining tools like WordPress

### what are my interests?

– languages on the internet (multilingualism)
– teenagers on the internet
– social media and how it changes the way companies and people communicate
– social tools, how we use them, what their purpose is, and how they work

### who are my clients?

– normal people who want to know more (about blogging or teenagers online)
– schools
– people in key communications/media positions in big companies
– small companies
– media corporations
– marketing/communications people
– tech people

### who am I?

– multi-faceted
– I know stuff about the internet
– I also know stuff about people and culture
– a long-term blogger and online person
– good at explaining, teaching, inspiring, assisting thought and decision-making processes

Seen from the “outside”, am I leaving stuff out?

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