Human Resources News & Insights

LinkedIn: Maybe not the serious, all-business forum you thought it was

C’mon, tell the truth: What are you really doing on LinkedIn?  

That what technology analyst Brian Hanley wanted to find out. “Most people would consider me an active LinkedIn user,” he wrote on the Huffington Post. “Still, I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m doing on LinkedIn.”

We can certainly relate. But Hanley really wanted to explore exactly what people were doing on the business/social site. So he embarked on a little research expedition, surveying “hundreds” of LinkedIn users.

Here are the results:

What do you say you do on LinkedIn?

No real surprises in the responses to this question:

  • Build my professional network.
  • Document my work experiences.
  • Showcase my technical capabilities.
  • Promote my personal brand.
  • Discover new career opportunities.
  • Share my expertise.

What do you actually do on LinkedIn?

Here’s where the fun begins. See if any of these responses match your private LinkedIn activities:

  • Admire my own profile.
  • Debut a headshot that looks like my younger, better-looking sibling.
  • Edit my headline and summary ad nauseam.
  • Examine my credentials from the POV of my client/hiring manager.
  • Discover who my top stalkers are.
  • Neutralize their creepiness by stalking them back.
  • View a hottie’s profile in the hopes that he or she reciprocates.
  • Connect with attractive people for no other reason than they’re fun to stare at.
  • Request to connect with my crush from college who I never met in person.
  • Develop a sense of intimacy with Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Cuban, and other famous businesspeople who I’m following.
  • Rub my accomplishments unapologetically in the faces of those who doubted me.
  • Endorse borderline strangers whose skills I know nothing about, with the expectation of receiving endorsements in exchange.

Hanley’s reaction? “What astonished me was the distinction between their front stage and back stage behavior,” he said.

We’re not.

Anybody else got a guilty LinkedIn secret to share? Write it in the comments section below.

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