Sunday, July 7, 2013

LinkedIn to LinkedOut


I’m on LinkedIn.

I even started a group on LinkedIn – the Business Continuity – COOP group for business continuity/COOP practitioners from tyros to know-it-alls. (I have yet to meet a real “know-it-all” but there are a few who think they know it all.)

When I joined LinkedIn several years ago it was pretty clean. It also was fairly straight forward to navigate.

Since joining, LinkedIn has brought on more advertisers and changed its User Interface, the “UI.”

It also, I suppose in an effort to boost membership, introduced something called “Recommendations.”

Recommendations are what I term “pseudo-references.” (LinkedIn still accommodates real references, but they get little play with the advent of Recommendations.)

I have many more recommendations than people I know who are qualified to recommend me for anything.

I have recommendations for areas in which I have zero, nada, no, אפס expertise.

LinkedIn, in my opinion, is cheapening itself. Maybe it’s playing to a different audience that the one it sought when I joined.

It’s raison d’etre as a professional-social network (socially professional or professionally social?) remains intact, but the way I see it is evolving away from the professionalism it once suggested.

I’m starting to ask myself if I want to continue with LinkedIn. I joined it to exchange thoughts with other practitioners and, perhaps, to mentor tyros. It was the same with DRJ’s web site until it shifted its main effort to its LinkedIn group.

If I quit LinkedIn I’ll miss some exchanges with a few selected fellow practitioners, but they have my email and they can contact me directly to figuratively kick ideas about. As for mentoring, this blog can serve as the venue for that. My e-address is on the blog page (top right if you care to look) and my in-box always is open. Cluttered, perhaps, but always able to hold one more incoming post.

Maybe I’m just not a sufficiently social animal. Professional, without a doubt. And certainly not anti-social, but maybe just not social enough. I confess to being a curmudgeon, but of late I’ve managed to refrain from making any scathing remarks on a LinkedIn group when someone asks a question already answered, usually several times. (”How far must a recovery site be located from the primary site?” or “How often must the plan be exercised?” or “Does anyone have a plan they can share for a ZYX scenario {flood, fire, tsunami, mass suicide by the board of directors}?”)

    By the way, if you want answers to those questions:
    How far: Depends.
    When to exercise: When anything changes.
    ZYX plan: Yes and No: (a) plans should not be threat specific, (b) my plans contain proprietary information, (c) my plan is for my organization and won’t work with yours.

Back in the day when I was a technical writer and had to learn HTML code on the fly, I reached out to the tech pubs world for information on how to create an HTML table.

I had read how to do it and I really tried to make it work, but to no avail. So I asked the experts. A gentleman from Poland provided not only the answer but a sample. That convinced me that professional networking was worthwhile.

Over the years, I’ve tried to “pay” for the assistance by assisting others without regard to anything other than the person’s desire to know something.

(There are no “stupid questions,” but I believe there ARE “stupid people asking questions.” “Stupid” may be the wrong word; certainly “lazy” is appropriate. Perhaps society considers having someone else do its job is merely “entitlement,” a mentality that sadly seems to be spreading.)

In any event, while this may not be my swan song – black, white, or any other color swan – from LinkedIn, it forces me to realize my days on the network probably are numbered.

Bottom line: If you have a question and you failed to find a satisfying answer from your colleagues and by searching the WWW, feel free to contact me. I will respond, albeit I won’t guarantee the tone of the response.

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