My Network Is Not On LinkedIn

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I am friendly on LinkedIn. I will connect with anyone because I am a big advocate of technology. And I am a nice lady. I will even write a recommendation for you if you ask. And LinkedIn is another marketing & communications channel for my blog, so I don’t take it lightly.

Except when I get an email like this.

I read your Cynical Girl blog and currently run marketing for a time and attendance company. I know this is an out of left field question, but I thought you would appreciate it…

Maybe you’ve received this question before, but…

In your LinkedIn profile pic are you sniffing your armpit? Whenever, I see your profile I kind of laugh thinking about that…I know it’s a bit juvenile, but I had to let you know.

Honestly, I laughed out loud because I have received this question before (thanks to the glorious messaging platform in LinkedIn) and I never know how to respond. I’m doing a bad version of a Madonna dance. It is an outtake — and it cracks me up every time I look at it. So the picture stays.

But let’s quickly talk about LinkedIn because I want to clear up a common misconception. The site does not reflect my professional network in the very least.

  • I am connected to nearly 2,000 people and I don’t know 98% of them by name.
  • I accept all requests because the connections might come in handy at some point in the future.
  • And I also like the address book feature.

But again, LinkedIn isn’t reflective of my real network. It’s an awesome website where I have connected with a bunch of professional people who know how to use the internet. They don’t spam me. No one sends me Farmville requests.

And although I am connected to many former colleagues dating back to the beginning of my career in the late 1990s, hardly any of my former executive clients or HR leaders use the site. Not a single one. People with power are aware of LinkedIn — much like John McCain was aware of the internet back in 2008 — but they network in real ways that are not democratic, overt, or tracked on a social network.

And if they do have an account, it’s managed by a comms team that is monitoring what’s being said about the corporate brand.

I think LinkedIn is an important professional & social network, but let’s not pretend that anyone with any serious power is sitting around accepting your invitations to connect. Usually it’s just a woman who sniffs her armpits and is willing to write you a recommendation.

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