Why I’m not “linked in”

I recently saw a PowerPoint presentation on the professional value of being on LinkedIn.  It was reasonably well done and fairly persuasive. At the conclusion of it, I nearly signed back up.  It would have been my third time.

But I didn’t.

It has some upside, I’m sure.  And it has some downside, as well.  But the tipping point for me was when I asked “my network” for some help.  My connections were in the (low) triple-digits, mostly colleagues, students, and professional acquaintances.  And when, for personal reasons of significant importance to me, I asked that as many as possible endorse me for a set of skills that 99% of them knew I had, I got only nine responses.

I very much appreciated those nine responses.  But I was surprised that there were only nine.  I wondered why.  And I believe there were many good reasons for the low response rate: too much competing noise on the platform, people who never saw my request, people who didn’t have time to help out at that moment, and any number of other reasons.  But it drove home two important points to me.  First, my perceived “network” was a social-media illusion.  Second, I had foolishly allowed myself to fall into the (for me) moral trap of “self-promotion at scale.”