I deleted my LinkedIn account, well sort of. I kept my account open, which I will explain below, but I left it mostly empty. You could say I am now officially linked out.
Beyond finding and acquiring my first job in the industry, LinkedIn has provided no value to me. Until recently, I probably went years without logging in, at least intentionally. For me, it is only a haven for spam from recruiters with boilerplate messages about “opportunities” that sound like desperate scams.
Admittedly, LinkedIn was a great resource when I was trying to get that first job. However, the service was drastically different back then. It was merely a collection of profiles with résumés and an email-like inbox for messages. It was useful, simple, and mostly benign.
I realize that for many folks, especially those early in their careers, LinkedIn likely remains a good resource for job opportunities. For me, it has definitely run its course, as I am sure it will for others.
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Over the years, LinkedIn has collected all of the sewage and (some of) the scandal of other social media platforms. It has a news feed. It has its own instant messaging. It encourages meaningless connections a la Facebook “friends”. The company is pursing growth for the sake of growth and oddly competing with social networks. I do not want, nor do I need any of this. There is plenty of bullshit on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. I never understood why a “professional” network also wanted all the same features and affects of its social counterparts. I think LinkedIn should have stayed the way it was — a virtual posting board for job openings and résumés. (But, capitalism. I know, I know.)
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Many of my LinkedIn “connections” are people I barely know. My skill “endorsements” were a complete joke. Non-technical folks from all different industries endorsed me for skills in technologies they certainly knew nothing about, not to mention my proficiency. It became so comical that I had multiple endorsements for “making coffee”, “kicking ass”, and “standing in lines in SF”. The platform also prompted me to endorse others I did not know well, and for skills I knew nothing about. I don’t get it.
The other side of this story is that my first job and every job after helped build my network of real, actual connections with people. The relationships I built with my coworkers were more valuable than any platform could dream of recreating virtually. In my opinion, that is what you should invest in, not accumulating connections that a private corporation will monetize.
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I wanted to completely delete my account. However, I have a custom URL,
/jessesquires and I do not want someone else to “take over” part of what was my online identity. That is a recipe for confusion, or embarrassment, or worse. Instead, I have left the account open and have removed most of the information, leaving only recent work positions.
Most importantly, this is also about ownership and control of my data. Why should I freely give such an enormous amount of personal data to a corporation so it can own and monetize it? Especially considering I have this — my own website — that I control completely. I should host my résumé myself. So now I am. And if I ever want, I will delete it too.
Update 04 June 2021
Unsurprisingly, it looks like LinkedIn has fully succumbed to the cesspool of the attention economy, with a news feed that’s full of influencers and other bullshit. I’m glad I will never login again.