LinkedIn: a dating website. Why it’s the worst and best idea.

What is Linkedin suppose to be? A platform or means for you to grow your professional network.

You can find your friends, coworkers, colleagues, or that acquaintance you met in line at Starbucks who might just get you a job down the road.

It’s also a means for you to search up the CEO of a company or the VP of marketing of a startup and send them a message introducing yourself, inviting them to connect, ask questions, or schedule a phone call just to talk. Because you wouldn’t otherwise have a professional way to communicate with them. People don’t always give out their emails, although it’s almost always something like:

LinkedIn also has that little number in the bottom right of your profile box that tells everyone how many connections you have. There’s something fancy about that “500+” you can wear like a badge of honor. So one day as I was scrolling through the list of “People You May Know,” as I sometimes do when I’m killing time but want to feel productive, I entertained a new thought.

There are a lot of attractive, well-educated, and intelligent people of my age on here. If only this was a dating website.

Let me lay out all the reasons why LinkedIn would work as a dating website and would be a darn good one too.

1.Intelligence is the sexiest trait. That might be subjective, but intelligence is a trait many people look for in a partner. It’s hard to gauge a person’s background, experiences, and intelligence from most dating website profiles. Often times these are things about a person that he or she won’t list on their profile because they fill it with more personal history, or maybe just empty space. Personal details are great, but being able to talk at the same level about issues or fields that both parties care about is an occurrence that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

2. The dating pool is larger. As a sort of follow up to number 1, most of the people that I would want to date, and I think a lot of people would want to date (smart, successful, busy, ambitious, sociable) might not be on dating website. This might be because of the social taboo that might still be around online dating despite a growing trend of sites like Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and OKCupid becoming more widely accepted.

It might also be because these people prefer traditional serendipitous ways of meeting that special someone, are too busy with work to date, are content with their social life so that they don’t actively seek a relationship but would be open to one, or they’re like me, and just not having too much luck finding people they like (or at least not a good enough ratio of people they like to people they don’t like) on traditional dating apps.

So, not that many people are on dating website…yet. But LOTS of smart, young, and talented professionals are on LinkedIn.

3. You get a picture! Luckily LinkedIn has a little slot for each person to put a sort of profile pic. The great thing about this photo is that everyone is looking their sharpest, in a nice suit or blouse.

The drawback is of course, there’s only one photo. And maybe you hate men in suits or, more strangely, women in dresses. But at least there is a photo and there’s a good chance it’s pretty decent, if not stunning.

4. No nonsense or extra fluff of dating websites. You know what I’m talking about, or maybe you don’t. But a lot of dating websites show when you are online, if someone has viewed your profile, how often you reply, etc. People can also message you a lot more easily and indiscriminantly too.

Granted some of these features can still be an issue if your “target” has LinkedIn Premium, but we’re going to assume most of the population on there doesn’t. This might not be true the older and higher in rank one gets — the CEO of company X might just have LinkedIn Premium.

Even if they do see that you’ve viewed their profile though, it’s a not a big deal. Lots of people come across their profiles, and it’s not like they automatically assume you are interested in doing business with them or dating them for that matter.

5. Think about all the data. You’re sitting on a huge pile of data both qualitative and quantitative, and everyone loves data. People’s LinkedIn profiles don’t just have their education and job experience. Where and when someone went to college and what they do currently are definitely things I’d be curious about. Also great to know is that they volunteer for an animal shelter on the side, or they produced a cool video in collaboration with a large media company. You can see what languages they speak — maybe you speak the same ones, what skills they have, projects they’re working on, who else they know that you might know too, who they follow, etc.

A Logistical Take on Why This Idea Sucks

  1. You can’t tell a person’s sexual orientation.
  2. Limitations in Communication: As it stands, you have to “connect” with someone to send them a message. The message has a character count that’s super short — 200 characters. It’s more than the stingy 140 tweet character count, but that’s not really saying much.
  3. Limitations in Data: Everything is skewed towards what an employer might want to read. Doesn’t leave room for too much personalization. Maybe they’re a fantastic cook or an award winning children’s book writer. These things might not relate to their full time career and hence aren’t listed on their profiles.
  4. The obvious: they’re taken, married, widowed, open relationships, happily single, what have you. Unavailable.

A Romantic or Philosophical Take on Why This Idea Sucks

  1. Can we really be judging someone for an ideal romantic partner based predominantly on their career? Or their intelligence? Or their salary?

2. When you’re on LinkedIn surfing the suggested connections page for your future lover, how romantic can that really be? Dating websites at least have the obligatory hearts and red/pink color schemes in subtle areas.

3. This doesn’t make for a very cute “how we met story” or a super sweet jumping off point for a future relationship.

But anyway, I’m not the first to entertain this idea. Inc., Forbes, and even WSJ have covered certain facets of it. Do I see a proof of concept here? Some validation that this idea isn’t crazy perhaps.

And hey what do ya know, someone actually created the app.

Check out BeLinked.

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