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Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanks for the 30-second warm glow, LinkedIn

I felt special for 30 seconds this morning, after LinkedIn sent me an e-mail that read:

Victoria, congratulations!
You have one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012.
LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for
playing a unique part in our community!

Then I did the math and realized that 5 percent of LinkedIn’s 200 million registered users equals 10 million people—a number approximately the same size as the entire population of Sweden, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, or Tunisia.

Update on 13 February 2013:

This week it seems many LinkedIn users have posted generic notifications from LinkedIn similar to the one above. Mary Beth Smith, owner of the very active Market Your Printing Company and Girls Who Print discussion groups, even commented that she had to start deleting them to keep legitimate discussions from disappearing off the board.

I have to wonder why users are proving so cooperative at playing along with LinkedIn’s self-promotion scheme.  Is it because they’re delighted by the ease of regurgitating ready-made, host-approved content, even though in enlightened social-media practice going generic is the 9th Deadly Sin? 

It’s also worth emphasizing that, although democracy is supposedly the underlying principle behind social media, in this instance LinkedIn has imposed a self-advertising monster from on high that will clutter the platform with redundant, user-unfriendly content for days or weeks to come.