The news this morning of LinkedIn’s alleged password breach seemed like a good endpoint for a two-month experiment I’ve performed on LinkedIn. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for several years, but it wasn’t providing much value to me. I’d log in every few months, accept the connection requests from folks that I knew, and log out. I occasionally dipped into some groups but found them mostly cesspools of spamlike things.
Yet I kept hearing how LinkedIn was a big important social network.
Surely, someone must be getting value from it.
Time for an Experiment
After chatting with some others whom are knowledgeable both with social media in general and also specifically for photographers, I decided I’d change my LinkedIn practices for a couple months. Starting in mid-March, I logged into LinkedIn almost daily. I requested to join about a dozen groups (a mix of photography, marketing, and local topics). My theory was that perhaps I would gain a lot more value from LinkedIn if I were an active participant.
Once I got accepted to the groups, I started participating. I would answer questions where I could provide insight and I posed the occasional question. I continued to accept connection requests, which continued to be about 50% people that I knew and about 50% random overseas spam.
The various groups I belonged to, even ones affiliated with reputable organizations that extend far beyond LinkedIn (such as the Professional Photographers of America), were about half spam and promotional posts. The signal-to-noise ratio was very low.
Frankly, the only group that provided interesting discussions was the Marketing Over Coffee group that accompanies Christoper S. Penn and John Wall’s venture.
Over the past week, I’d been debating whether there was any value to continue participating on LinkedIn.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
It doesn’t make sense to spend significant amounts of time on something that isn’t providing a meaningful return on that investment of time.
It’s tempting to simply delete my LinkedIn account. I don’t believe that I’ve ever met a future client, secured a deal, or fostered any sort of meaningful relationship on LinkedIn.
Should I go back to a stale presence, where the only thing I do is build connections? Perhaps I can continue to check in on the Marketing Over Coffee group. As someone who often writes and speaks about social media, it is probably wise to maintain a shell presence there even if it’s not providing much actual value…
How do you decide when to dump a social network that’s not living up to expectations?