Aviva: Welcome to LinkedIn!

Aside from Banana Republic e-mails, which I like to keep because they are so touching, a plethora of LinkedIn communication is swelling my already bloated inbox (9,736 messages – everyone files things differently).

These missives seem to require some kind of attention and I don’t know what that is. Note: I’m an instructional minimalist. When it comes to user manuals, terms and conditions, how-tos and, unfortunately, why-tos, I tend to adopt a healthy as-needed  (aka bury head immediately) approach.

I was at a conference recently and a hip, knowledgeable guy gave a very compelling talk on his preferred social media tools. Linked-In was right up there. He touted it as critical to networking. I need to network – is it really that simple? He suggested we all join the LinkedIn for journalists group. A bit of a stretch, but I signed up immediately.

It asked for a profile, which only makes sense. What’s anyone supposed to do with my name and a smiling, professional profile pic? I cobbled together a smattering of unrelated writing activities, a snapshot of my lengthy low-levelish, decades-long government policy-wonk jobs and a list of my skills. I did not include making the best fucking caramel corn – both butter and vegan variations, being funny, or talking my mom off the ceiling. Perhaps someone can tell me where those fit? I see them as life skills. Neglected to mention my large in-box or how often I end up on the ceiling myself – there was no section for weaknesses or acrobatics.

I have avoided Linked-In for many years. It struck me as stuffy, corporate, and distinctly un-fun. Although happily, no one posts what they ate for breakfast there. We have other platforms for that but how many platforms should I be standing on waiting for the success bus to swing by and pick me up? (Don’t say it. I’m being too passive.)

Maybe I’m too much of a toddler but Linked-In has almost no pretty pictures. Although e-mails I receive that say: See Bob’s connections. See Nina’s connections. See Jerry’s new job. See Spot run do appeal to my inner four year old with their nice rhythm and repetition.

Once my half-assed profile was up I was flooded by requests for connections to people – all sorts. Seems the arty, literary, academic, cool kids are also on Linked-In. It’s a friendly place where almost everyone accepts your invitation – at least so far. But what do they do with them?

My very close friend had a good laugh when I invited her to link up. Like there’s anything she doesn’t already know about me. But I can only assume our professional connection will serve me well. That is how this thing works, right? Not what you know but who you know?

Now people are endorsing my skills. Providing proof I guess that I’m not making it all up. (Don’t tell anyone, but it’s my real life friends that are doing it.)

So now what? I’m clicking accept invitation, noting that someone added a new skill, but not bothering to check what that is, and scanning the often amusing head and shoulder shots of people I know never dress like that, wearing what I can only assume are dickies that looks like a nice sport jacket and tie or a smart suit, waiting for the job offers and writing contracts to roll in.

It must mean something about hierarchy of value, that LinkedIn does not come up as an error in spell check, but Facebook does. However I don’t thing it’s working. No one has called. Am I doing something wrong?

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