We need to talk about Linkedin

Since leaving a long term contract in December I then found myself having to deal with the second worse thing about being ‘between gigs’ which is having to spend a considerable amount of time on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has democratised the tools needed to find freelance work, but for me, not the right freelance work. Also the daily browsing of status updates, from people who are most definitely not your friends, there seems to be a deluge of visual ways to make people feel either that they are not doing their job right, or that they cant say they are X if they do Y etc. And a bunch of other trolly posts about how you thought you should do things is wrong.

Analogies (aka if my brother was a girl he would be my sister)

These are extremely insulting. In the first week of January I stumbled across this:

‘How not to build a minimum viable product’

The amount of noise this image caused on LinkedIn is incredible. Firstly not many users ‘got’ the analogy. That is because it stinks. MVP is not an exact formula, nor is there a definite set of rules behind it. Having built quite a few software app MVP you can trim features or simplify features, but from the outset you know it is an app. You don't build a skateboard then refine it into a car. The customer wants a car. Have we so narrowly defined the parameters of MVP? Or are we now fetishising how to project that we know something that others don't know? A minimum viable product can be whatever you and your team want it to be, the parameters being the market, stakeholders and budget.

Exhausting, and all I wanted to do was post that I was available for freelance work.

Next up — UI v UX.

This image annoyed the crap out of me:

This is a terrible analogy. Positing that good UX is the solely the most efficient way to get from one point to the next, whilst also falsely claiming that all ‘designers’ (assuming they mean visual) just want to make things ‘look good’. Understanding users needs would be to not assume that everyone would turn left and therefore walk across a pathway that afford 4 outcomes. Also who cares if users can extrapolate a new path, is that not the epitome of non linear navigation? Also as a smart person commented, if it rains your shoes will get muddy.

Exhausting. And all I wanted to do was post that the Monday is the third Monday in January, supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

Motivational crap (aka you can be the next Steve Jobs)

Best train driver ever quote

Eurgh. Scrolling down your feed you will inevitably come across a meme or quote that will make you either a) think you can be the next <insert hero> or b) spend the rest of the day hating yourself for not being the next <insert hero>. The sad fact is that most of us wont be inventing the next Uber, disrupting the banking industry or becoming the next Tony Stark. Those guys are too busy being awesome to be on LinkedIn. Deal with it. You can however be brilliant at what you are great at. If you REALLY want to be the ‘next’ something, be the bright spark who invented the next LinkedIn. Go figure.

Recruitment agencies

I enjoy a love hate relationship with 3 things: Gluten, LinkedIn and recruitment agencies. All seem fine then make you feel sad, sick and bloated, and your family tell you to cut them out, but you cant.

Recruitment agencies are a necessary evil. Some of them are great, really honest agents, decent rates and big clients, but the majority of them are still like the cheapest lettings agent on the crappy part of town. And those guys are all over LinkedIn. Not a day goes by without a lowballer trying to connect with you with the false promise of an amazing opportunity. Which is then put ‘on hold’ once they have your CV and fingerprints.

Not strictly LinkedIn’s fault, but they have made it simple for people to scrape your profile and offer you all kinds of crap. Once I got offered a job working for me. We were hiring a senior designer to work on my team, put the job out and then I got offered it. I would have taken it if my line manager was less of a dick :)

Part of this is also the issue of endorsing people for skills. Does Mat have these skills or expertise? Most people in my ‘network’ would have no idea, which is why the majority of my endorsements are UX rather than VD ‘skills’

Notifications

Notifications are the de facto passive communication channel for mobile, get it right and you can ensure regular usage with your service, and have a wearables strategy out of the box. Peoples lives are about micro interactions. Who liked my status? who wants to hire me? etc

LinkedIn notifications service feels like it is made out of cream cheese. This morning I had 14 new notifications on the app, and none on the website.

So where are we?

Well I ended up doing what I usually do, I went and got myself a new contract using the telephone and a dash of charm. But 6 weeks of LinkedIn did zero for my confidence and helped my career in no quantifiable way at all. Who cares how you build MVP? Or if you want to do UX and UI ? or what makes a great manager? (answer: company credit card and low self esteem) Just blaze your own path.