Count LinkedIn among those social networking sites that I’ve never fully grasped.
It calls itself “The world’s largest professional network: 300 million strong.” It would appear 299,999,999 others are getting a lot more out of than I am.
According to one Internet definition, LinkedIn’s goal “is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.”
The network allows users to create profiles and “connections” to each other in an online social network which can potentially represent real-world professional relationships.
These connections can then be used in a number of ways, including:
- Obtaining introductions to connections of connections;
- Finding jobs, people and business opportunities; and
- Allowing employers to list jobs and search for potential candidates.
I joined a few years ago because, well, I don’t know why. I suppose because others I knew had done so.
It’s really served me no other purpose than to occasionally reconnect with a former classmate or colleague.
LinkedIn, apparently feeling I’m always looking to better my position in life, also regularly sends me emails titled “Jobs you may be interested in”.
Whatever algorithm LinkedIn is using to generate this missive would seem to need some tweaking, however.
Over the past month here are some of the jobs LinkedIn believes I might be interested in (and, mind you, I’m a writer who handles marketing and media communications for my employer – all of which is clearly stated on my LinkedIn profile):
- General surgeon;
- Certified public accountant;
- Director of health services;
- College director;
- Commercial loan underwriter; and
- Director of engineering services and transmission planning.
As near as I can tell, LinkedIn figures out who has a college degree and who doesn’t, then it shunts the appropriate open positions to those in each category.
How else does one explain why a networking site would think someone with a Journalism degree might be “interested” in being a general surgeon, a CPA or an engineer?
Of all the emails LinkedIn has sent me over the past few months with “Jobs you may be interested in,” only one position has been even remotely close to what I actually do.
Perhaps I should be flattered that LinkedIn thinks so highly of my abilities that it believes me capable of such a wide array of professions. And to think my high school guidance counselor never believed I’d amount to much.
LinkedIn costs something like $1,200 annually for its premium package. But given the pinpoint precision demonstrated by the social network in ferreting out potential positions for yours truly, I’m quite happy sticking with the free service.