Here’s How LinkedIn Hurt My Brand

I’d been having that bothersome privacy discussion with my brother, the veterinarian, the last week or so regarding a dilemma they were having with a program software developer wanting access to all their customer base information. A few days later, out of the still-dark early Sunday morning quiet, I received an email with the following Subject Line:

Users Sue Linkedin

I read the article, it only had 22 comments, all of which you’d put in the definitely vitriolic category.

This New York Times article was published on a Saturday evening and the comments had begun pouring in so fast I’m sure there weren’t enough hands-on-deck on a Sunday to handle them all. By Monday morning, I noticed 97 had been vetted and allowed to pass muster.

Again, most all of the comments were in the definitely vitriolic category. They were so surprisingly negative that I began to think about what seemed to be almost a consensus from a reader base consisting of New York Times online subscribers regarding the almost-universally- idolatrized-in-the-recuiter/sourcersphere juggernaut, LinkedIn.

The contempt for LinkedIn in the general population surprised me. And all this time I thought I was the only one critical of LinkedIn.

To be truthful though, I know I’m not alone, but there aren’t many of us. A handful, at best, are willing to criticize LinkedIn publicly. Part of my reading on that Sunday morning landed me on this page, where I was surprised to see a comment made 126 weeks ago by “socialmediaguru” (whoever that was/is), seeming to call me out over my  remark  that I had made after reading the article, which was about how LinkedIn was changing the way recruiters find talent.  It was an uncharacteristically short six words:

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I don’t use LinkedIn much anymore.

To which socialmediaguru seemed to take umbrage:

Maureen, I’m one of your 5,000+ connections on LinkedIn. Why are you claiming not to use the site….I see your updates on my LinkedIn homepage almost every day. It’s ok to admit that LinkedIn is the best resource ever created to find talent.

I can’t recall if I made a comment then (it never made it past vetting nearly two and one half years ago to be posted if I did!). However, in light of the allegations made recently, and the experience many of us have had in the last couple years with LinkedIn, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that all these “updates” Mr (or Ms) socialmediaguru is referring to, were self-promotionally generated figments/fabrications of LinkedIn’s very own internal machismo technical marketing/development money machine. Socialmediaguru’s remark sounds like I’m just full of sour grapes, doesn’t it?  Like maybe, even, I’m lying about my involvement with LinkedIn and their contribution to my success as a phone sourcer?

A case can be made (and is being made, in my mind) that LinkedIn has greatly damaged my brand by forcing its affiliation onto me in the eyes of one of my “5000+ connections” and, by default, upon the connections of those connections and the connections of those connections, ad infinitum… You see, socialmediaguru, it’s not, and never has been, okay for me to “admit” that LinkedIn is the “best resource ever created to find talent.” In my world, that resource would be the telephone. Hear me talk next week in Seattle, at Sourcecon, about the best resource ever created to find talent. I look forward to meeting you!

telephone image via bigstockphoto.com

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!

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