I google everyone and their mother, especially if you’re someone I’ve interacted with online or in person.
After receiving an e-mail from someone I had never met — we’ll call him Drew — I googled his name and hopped over to his LinkedIn page. It displayed an impressive resume. He had made millions of dollars for various companies as an executive.
But other than a few dry, sterile facts and figure in executive speak, I learned nothing else about Drew.
And that’s the trouble with LinkedIn.
Today’s relationships are characterized by more than the transactional networking of yesteryear. LinkedIn is like going to a luncheon, briefly greeting the person next to you and getting their card. Business cards do not a relationship make.
What about the person’s interests, personality, character? You are more than your resume.
I do find value in LinkedIn discussion groups. The value lies in the information shared but still leaves relationships out of the equation. Someone posts a question or comment. A few or many other people respond, and most of them don’t know each other and continue to not know each other for the most part. Often, they’re itching for a space to talk about themselves some more, and I’m not sure if anyone’s really listening. The format of the site doesn’t lend itself to genuine conversation, in my opinion.
LinkedIn is for transactional exchanges: “I give you this, and you take that, but I don’t care to know who you really are outside of what you can give me.”
It has staying power, especially for those tiptoeing into social media. It has its purpose. I’ll continue to use it. But it is what it is.