Why I don’t use LinkedIN

Chances are you’ve reached out to connect with me on LinkedIN and my response was something along the lines of. “I don’t use linkedin but you can connect with me via email”. I’ve said this enough but what I usually find is that when offered the chance to actually connect, inquire or just chat many people only want access to my “network”. Those individuals that I likely work with, are friends with or interact with so that they can hedge their bets in finding employment or investment capital or something else. To a certain extent, I get it, everyone is looking for opportunity and that’s not my biggest concern with the platform.

The specific case that got me to shut down my account completely. I was networking and introduced to a venture capitalist and had some ideas for which I didn’t think they necessarily needed funding. Of course she added me on LinkedIN and reached out. Unfortunately, I had to be out of town and didn’t respond for a couple of weeks. Eventually I responded with a simple, “Thanks, but no thanks, not ready and here are some others who probably need the capital more than me at the moment”. A couple of months after that, at a party (networking event) she was reintroduced and “politely” accosted me about it. It was at that very moment that I knew I had to remove my LinkedIN profile. The idea that I was to keep communication, facilitate and keep introductions going all under the guise of networking with people who I barely knew but felt they were doing me favors was untenable. Still, I get it, everyone is looking for an opportunity so when it comes knocking with “JUMP!” I’m expected to immediately respond with, “How high!”. This was still not my biggest concern with the platform.

The final nail in the coffin was that scammers were trying to get people in my network, my friends or acquaintances I have close business and personal relationships with, to invest in their own businesses. In some cases scammers were sending invoices for projects that I was working on or had a part in. Or claiming “new” projects they were working with me on that had tangential relation to whatever they needed funding for. Not my first rodeo with the trolls and the seedy underbelly of the internet, but as a relatively private person without a team or care to manage any of it. It became clear it was a vector that simply needed to be shut down.

What people don’t seemingly understand is that bad actors can build a whole profile and dossier on you and create a version of you that lives digitally online; just from LinkedIN data. Call old employers, find out where you live, what your position is etc. The techniques are now much more sophisticated and in some cases you won’t know for a very long time that someone is using your identity and identity theft services don’t care and won’t help. Possibly damaging your reputation or causing confusion that’ll cost you further business or opportunity.

Protecting one’s identity online is difficult and largely a game of whack-a-mole. I’m not sure exactly what the answer is in place of LinkedIN. I have some ideas but that’s a different discussion, if you’re here, it’s likely we’ve met and you asked about LinkedIN or I provided contact information. It was great to meet you and if you ever want to reach out, you know how to do so.

© Christopher Warner 2023