I wrote a while back about LinkedIn. In that short time I have connected with 60+ colleagues. I had lost touch with many of them years ago and it’s been great catching up. LinkedIn has worked well for me but for others the experience was not as good.
My own policy on accepting connections is the suggested method for using the site: I only link to those I have worked with or know well. I have had some invitations from recruiters but I politely declined.
Not everyone in my network has been as cautious. A few appear to be treating it as a game: aiming to get the most links they can. The down side to this behaviour is a network in which you have no interest. This is not a problem in itself, but you then get spammed with requests from people you don’t know and have no interest in helping. This leads to users shutting down their accounts.
LinkedIn, like many Internet services, has no official self-service method for closing an account. (The un-official method is to turn off notifications, remove your connections, and rename yourself to something anonymous.) Konstantin Guericke, co-founder of LinkedIn, laments this missing feature but doesn’t expect it to be used much once it is there.
This has led some to profess hatred for the service. Jeff Attwood has flipped the bozo bit on the service. He brands it a chain letter and a pyramid scheme. And he goes on to suggest that and anyone using it does not deserve to be taken seriously.
Although I’m not convinced that Jeff’s hatred of the service is genuine he does offer a good rule of thumb: if you’re a member of something and you’re not seeing personal benefits then you should opt out. I subscribed to Jeff’s RSS feed a few months ago but since then I’ve seen no personal benefit. Perhaps I’ll take his advice.
I’m not sure Jeff and the others represent the views of most LinkedIn users. There’s only one way to settle this: fight!