Around this time last year I blogged about why – despite all the media and marketing ravings – Tinder was just not the answer to modern dating needs. The problem overlooked by many enthusiasts was, in many ways, a very simple one – human behaviour. In all our enthusiasm to praise the simple proposition, swipey-addictiveness and UX of the product, we forgot about one important denominator – the user themselves – and how they used the platform being the key determinant of its success. So blindly, many of us praised this app as the solution to lonely hearts the world over. Well, it wasn’t. And it all boiled down to how men and women think very differently about dating strategies and interacting with prospective partners. You can read all about the details here. Consequently it rapidly became just another place for sleazy hook ups. The point? To quote the good doctor, ‘Life, finds a way’.
Human beings you see, are ‘cheats’.
Not everyone and not all the time. But enough people, enough of the time for it to matter. And it is especially common in scenarios where they feel they can get away with it – such as the Wild West of Social Media. Give us a tool and we will ‘hack it’ and manipulate, experiment and try to make it into something else altogether than it’s original intentions. That’s a basic rule of human nature, and for the most part, it’s a great one. It even tends to be pretty positive on social media, provided the owners of the social platform observe user behaviour and use it to improve upon their offering. Netflix, for example, I strongly suspect, is purposefully convenient for any numpty to ‘hack’ for better content. And Snapchat’s latest improvements show how well they are monitoring our app behaviour (yes, just read the T&Cs) to better improve the app. But some platforms just aren’t paying attention, and one such platform is LinkedIn.
Some of the most common examples of social media messers in the last few weeks:
1. Recruiters who add everyone and anyone. Only to never even so much as look at a profile to match it with a job but instead, spam as many people’s timeline’s with as many irrelevant jobs as possible. Laziness 2.0.
2. Recruiter friends of recruiters – who work in the same company and like these job posts to increase the post visibility (and my irritability) to as many irrelavant people as possible.
3. Digital and Social media ‘gurus’ who post bland high-visibility but low-level interactivity updates such as pointless maths problems and ‘inspirational’ quotes, presumably so they can show poor unassuming clients high view and interaction counts and say ‘Look how good I am at the social media! Just wait until you see how good I am at the Facebook!
4. Content thieves who crudely rehash other people’s work to maintain timeline visibility. (I actually did an online course in content strategy that recommended this and quit immediately). These can be particularly frustrating as users will click on the content matter for the promise of something new only to be rewarded with pointless buzzfeed-esque wallpaper.
5. People who just can’t contain their personal thoughts, feelings and non-business related queries to Facebook. Such as..
6. Inspirational quotes for cheap likes.
7. And speaking of Tinder, people who use LinkedIn as ‘Tinder for employed people’. You know who you are.
The crazy thing is that all of these offenders will look at their clicks and likes and comments and tell you, according to their measurements, they are doing a damn fine job of ‘linking in’. But of course they’re not. Those measures are all just focused on the here and now and there is no consideration for the long term effect of this constant spamming. They also are not focused on creating interactions and nurturing connections that matter. And they are certainly not creating an effective content strategy.
Perversely, the rest of us rule abiders don’t kick up a fuss and call it when we see it precisely because we play by the rules. Sure, my content may come across a little more casual than most but have no doubt that I love the rules. I have never, up until today, remarked negatively on such behaviours because I am aware that it is a professional platform and in such as scenario, two people’s reputations are on the line.
But have no doubt LinkedIn cheaters, we are not amused and we are starting to tune you out. Personally, I am deleting any connection who does any of the above or shares any of the above a good deal. And while obviously many have us invested a lot of time in building our profiles, content and connection, I believe LinkedIn would want to seriously consider methods of clamping down on such activities, lest another social platforms takes their place… and they become just another Tinder.