LinkedIn is my favourite worst website. For a while, that title was held by Answers.com, but I’ve since changed my mind. LinkedIn is the devil’s bathroom, and he wants to connect with you!
I’ve written before about such illustrious figures as Oleg Vishnepolsky. But today I’m not writing about the content on the site, but the site itself. Because, folks, some of it is entirely buckwild.
LinkedIn: user-unfriendly by design
LinkedIn famously hates you and your privacy. It’ll suggest contacts you didn’t even know you knew, pulled from the depths of your address book like demons from an inferno’s depths. It encourages you to create a profile, which turns out to be a Sisyphean task that can never truly be created.
HEY, LinkedIn yells at you the second you log in, DO YOU WANT TO UPDATE YOUR EDUCATION SECTION. I KNOW YOU LEFT SCHOOL A DECADE AGO BUT MAYBE THINGS HAVE CHANGED? HUH?! ARE YOU STILL IN YOUR JOB? WHAT IS YOUR JOB AGAIN? DO YOU WANT A FAKE CERTIFICATE.
(I’ll write it up properly sometime, but LinkedIn has a fun feature where you can take a ten-minute quiz to be certified in anything you want. Apparently, I’m a LinkedIn-approved expert in “MongoDB“.
You can have fun with these features, though. Perhaps you’ll endorse a colleague in “nuclear weapons” or “hip-hop dance”. Or write a recommendation for their profile about how many people you’ve seen them defeat in combat. I don’t know why these features exist, and neither does LinkedIn.
LinkedIn messaging: somehow even worse?
LinkedIn doesn’t exist to connect professionals together, but to provide pipelines for salespeople and recruiters to invade your life. All without the hassle of having to look up your actual phone number or home address.
Every week, I get people adding me just to try and sell me, say, social listening tools. I don’t want any more social listening tools! If I wanted a social listening tool, my first place to look wouldn’t be the shores of my LinkedIn inbox; lined as it is with the wrecks of so many ‘business development’ executives.
LinkedIn knows this feature sucks a bit. You’re a busy person, and you don’t have time to bat these try-hards off! So they built a way to turbocharge your batting: suggested replies.
Suggested replies are becoming more of a thing across all platforms. You’ll find them in Gmail, giving you quick access to common replies to common questions. Personally, I find that “Sounds good!” works as a perfect panacea for any message you could ever receive. But it also does stuff like suggest times/days for meetings.
The end result of this, of course, is a future where we all have personal assistant robots talking to each other. And I must stress how much this is a good thing. What, you love admin do you? No, you don’t. If admin was fun, it would be called “play” or “fun.” We have the word “admin” because doing admin sucks and the sooner we can drop it, the better.
Anyway, something seems to have gone wrong with LinkedIn’s suggested reply feature. Perhaps the AI became self-aware and decided it too hates LinkedIn. I’m not a software engineer, so I can’t tell you what’s happened. But the suggested replies are always absolutely bananas.
Let’s take a look at some suggested replies
Let’s start with the suggestion that I wish “happy birthday” to someone who just wished me a happy birthday:
Sticking with the birthday theme, why would I ever reply to birthday wishes with a “not sure”?
And the beauty of the suggested replies is that they NEVER STOP. So you can have these long, non-sequitur conversations that have a very artful feel to them.
I mean, isn’t this how we all truly communicate with each other? Empty, meaningless sounds using the quickest go-to reply that our brains can come up with.
God, I hate LinkedIn.
footnote: there is only one good LinkedIn account, and that is Mr Will Goodjob. Perhaps you would like to connect with him.