Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Is LinkedIn A Waste of Time?

linkedinIs LinkedIn the key to your legal future or just another massive time suck?

One law tech expert – who was an early LinkedIn adopter and advocate – worries it might be becoming the latter.

“I find myself to be of two minds about LinkedIn,” writes Robert Ambrogi in this post. “On one hand, I continue to see its usefulness to lawyers as a directory and means of making connections. At the same time however, I am bothered by the fact that, as LinkedIn’s membership has soared, so has the level of useless noise, unwanted spam and pointless connection attempts.”

380 Million and Counting

There is no denying LinkedIn’s popularity. The platform has a worldwide membership of 380 million, which means your resume and professional profile are available to everyone from Southport to Sao Paulo at any given moment.

But it also opens you up to spam, scams and salesmen.

“Perhaps what most troubles me about LinkedIn these days is that I now receive far more connection invitations from people trying to sell me something than from people who legitimately want to connect for professional purposes,” writes Ambrogi. “Web developers. Financial consultants. Insurance brokers. Marketing consultants. Career counselors. Product vendors. Tailors. Digital content providers. Office furniture salespeople. Lead-generation consultants. SEO experts. Real estate brokers. IT consultants. Website developers. Recruiters. Videographers. These are just some of the recent connection requests I have received. Requests of this type far outnumber legitimate connection requests. And I haven’t even mentioned all the requests I get from people who I can’t figure out what they do or why in the world I’d want to connect with them.”

Other annoyances: getting fooled by bogus requests, accepting connections that come with strings attached and wasting time clearing out cluttered in-boxes.

Other Views from LinkedIn Users

Ambrogi’s post sparked a bonfire of comments. Here are a few:

  • I thought LinkedIn Groups might be a great way to foster discussion and add a real social dynamic to what LinkedIn is doing (with moderation) but the noise level with groups is very high as well. Other online communities (not legal) have active and vibrant discussions and user engagement but I have not had this experience on LinkedIn. I turned most emails off from LinkedIn groups long ago. And they are building upwards, downwards and outwards as they seek new revenue streams so I’m not sure that the signal to noise ratio is going to get better.
  • I find LinkedIn despite its warts to be very useful. I am seeing the value of publishing there to be on the decline. There is so much noise with people trying to kick out a piece every couple days that’s drowned out any value. On requests to connect, I wade through them all and find gems including from clients and prospective clients whom I end up talking to by phone as a result.
  • I find the system incredibly valuable for connecting with old colleagues or finding a way to connect with people I don’t know (or don’t know well) when I need to reach them for a reason I consider virtuous (i.e., I’m not saying “I’m the world’s best lawyer, hire me.”) Of course, the very size that makes it so valuable also hurts its utility when you are trying to find someone who does not have a particularly distinctive name. But I still find it to be a very useful tool without being an unreasonable time suck each day.
  • From my perspective, LinkedIn is sadly taking too many cues from Facebook. Yes, pointless connection attempts and spam. But endorsements are the current thorn in my side. They’re all but meaningless as I’ve had old friends who’ve never had a professional relationship with me endorse me for work I’ve never done. Every time I turn around, LinkedIn is pushing me to offer more meaningless endorsements to every connection I have. But, like Facebook with all its problems, it’s what we’ve got. It’s Facebook’s professional counterpart and requires at least the tiniest bit of presence. Until something better comes along, I consider it mandatory.

The very quality that makes LinkedIn so valuable – its global reach – is also the thing that is causing headaches.

What’s your experience? Do you find LinkedIn a boom or bust? Send us a comment.

Source: Law Sites

Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual.

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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