For a time so long that I can’t even remember, I’ve had a LinkedIn profile. For anyone who has one, you know why you do: someone you know signed up, they sent out an email to connect with you, you check it out and thought, “Why not?”, signed up, and since then you’ve amassed “connections”. Naturally, the argument would be, “Why not just keep your profile as it doesn’t do any harm?” That’s a reasonable argument, but at the same time, in today’s digital world, mere presence is harm.
As a web developer, writer, photographer, and a whole bunch of other things that are promoted and used in an online setting, I am with an overabundance of digital identity, most of which I don’t need and try to trim whenever I can. I remember back in 1996 when, if one had ww2.raccoonhost.com/pro/~lord64 for your personal webpage it was considered a digital coup d’etat. These days, it’s just detritus. We’re at a point now where we need to hone what we have online. To a large extent, Facebook has allowed for this by allowing a controlled, personal space wherein you can share what you want–your private web if you will.
I still do use Facebook and won’t delete that profile despite how much I despise how they conduct themselves. The benefit to my projects and clients is enough that I’m forced to keep my account around. It’s a lot like the issue surrounding coltan. It may be all kinds of bad, but if I’m to exist in the modern world, in my profession, I’m forced to use it, albeit with it a not easy-to-find profile unless I point someone directly at it. (Update: killed it off too)
The same can’t be said of LinkedIn. I get nothing out of this site, yet it is the 10th or 12th result when searching for my name. I don’t need that. I’d much rather that projects I feel proud of were associated with my name. I don’t want some online resume (that I don’t keep up-to-date) to be what people judge me by. I have an online resume as a webpage that I can send out if someone really needs to see it. I’m not trying to hide anything, but more wanting to make what is publicly known of me in the digital spheres to be as relevant as possible.
On the one hand, it’s somewhat gossip-worthy to see someone you know suddenly want to connect, which means that they’re out of work, especially if they change their job title to “consultant”. But then there’s the face that beyond cheesy promotions I will not now nor ever in the future get employment or value from my LinkedIn profile. No one will. The sheer mass of profiles on the site make it impossible for anyone hiring to truly find candidates and honestly, if I were notable enough to stand out on LinkedIn, you wouldn’t need LinkedIn to find me. In other words, with my LinkedIn profile now deleted, the web-at-large will work just fine, thank you very much.