LinkedIn: To close or not to close my account, that is the question

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

November 6, 2013

LinkedIn and how annoying it has become

LinkedIn has become increasingly annoying over the past year. I started to get more and more emails that seem to be aimed at driving me to their site, along with advertisements for Kennected pricing and other services to work LinkedIn more efficiently. I would periodically get emails about somebody being in the news. In fact it was someone I met once. Once! And he left my company a couple years ago. No one else seems to meet this criteria. I wasn’t interested.

I also would get other junk mail. This used to be a handy way to track people professionally that I would either work with, meet in the corporate offices, or interact with remotely while solving technical problems.

I finally was annoyed enough to find the microscopic text at the bottom that let me unsubscribe from these things. And then I got another email message. It appears there is more than one list I had to unsubscribe from.

If you have multiple mailing lists and settings, you’re doing it wrong!

LinkedIn introduces security hole a mile wide

In case you didn’t hear about it, LinkedIn came out with this new feature where they can hook into your iPhone’s email and display contact data. It’s touted as a handy feature to elaborate a cryptic email with “Vice President of Widgets Inc.” What’s not explained is how it works. LinkedIn intercepts all the email on your iPhone, pipes it through their servers, and then sends back an edited email message.

This feature is what’s known as “man-in-the-middle” with LinkedIn being “in the middle”, and hence subject to…(drum roll)…man in the middle attacks.  But that is not all. Maybe you aren’t hacked or monitored by any NSA monitoring program that is embedded at LinkedIn headquarters.

At a minimum, you are generating data for LinkedIn based on your email traffic. I already get enough spam from them. This one really shoots down their status in my opinion.

“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” –blue_beetle on the interwebs

This the type of data they need to collect to sell to advertisers. I have no problem with advertising. In fact I have ads shown on this blog site. But don’t try and tell me this email interceptor which if LinkedIn was hacked would become the target of a horrendous trojan attack vector is something else.

To top things off, LinkedIn hasn’t really provided me with a dime of value. When I was looking for new opportunities back in 2009-2010 amidst my desire to relocate, I reached to many people in my LinkedIn network. I didn’t get a single interview that way. I knew people that had left my old company that managed to get me in the door for interviews. My wife’s uncle in Tennessee also had contacts and helped me.

What DOES work for networking?

What really paid off was that I had met a world of people through the Spring community as well as the SpringOne 2008 conference. I continue to build a strong network of friends and technical peers through the Nashville Java User Group and the Spring community which I deem worlds more valuable than what I have with LinkedIn.

I also continue to build my personal brand by writing stuff here, on Spring’s blog site, and making open source contributions through GitHub projects. My resume is on display for anyone to see, and definitely tops those worthless LinkedIn endorsements.

Receiving an endorsement from a co-worker I haven’t seen for almost four years about “subversion” (which I barely used even back then) is totally useless! Stop the madness, please.

Hence, the reason I debate almost weekly to close my LinkedIn account. I can probably migrate the CV/resume content into my blog site and instead point people there. But I never seem to pull the trigger, instead holding on as a hedge. So maybe next week.


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