‘Name a country without the letter A within 10 seconds. Did you know 90% of people fail this test?’
Like the lemmings we are, people inevitably comment on posts like these. A year ago I wouldn’t see this kind of post on LinkedIn, but now I see one every hour on my timeline.
We all entered the wild frontier that was LinkedIn with promises of connecting with like-minded professionals. Facebook was for friends, but LinkedIn was the new social network for your colleagues and business connections. It was a chance to develop a community of thoughtful individuals who were going change the world one update at a time.
It became a valid recruitment tool, a chance to reach out to a fresh audience outside of the usual job boards. It was also a place where buzz words were soon being dropped like breadcrumbs, making us all sound like something out of The Matrix, but that was a small price to pay for interesting discussions on the business issues that affect us.
It must have been about 6 months ago when a nagging doubt kicked in that there was something wrong – someone posted a quiz. ‘This looks fun,’ we thought, ‘a quick five minute distraction in my day’. But soon these distractions caught on.
Now, my LinkedIn newsfeed is littered with dubiously-accredited inspirational quotes (who knew George Washington had an opinion on calling people vs emailing them?), word searches, memes and quizzes. Why do people do this? Is it because they want to be liked, is it a desperate way of attracting new connections? It is diluting a social network that is designed to enable business connections and discussions – if you want to post quizzes, surely Facebook is the more apt place to do so?
LinkedIn is losing its most evangelical audience and something else will inevitably take its place. The web is a fast-moving industry. I’m not smart enough or young enough to know what that will be but please, LinkedIn, can we have some sort of way of moderating posts other than hiding updates from that person? ‘That will take it away from the social network that we have come to love.’ people will say. But really, do you care whether a business development manager from Santiago can name an animal without the letter E in their name?