If you want to improve your life, you’re more likely to see results by removing something from your life rather than adding something new. Today I deleted my LinkedIn account for a few reasons.
First and foremost it has never been useful for finding work nor has it been useful for networking for me personally. I started a LinkedIn around 2009ish and never, not once had gained anything useful from it (and I imagine the same can be said of most users on LinkedIn). Every career advancement or new job I’ve ever got was a direct result of networking with real people.
For me, LinkedIn contributes to destroying my attention, but the same could be said for every social media platform. I am someone who values focus and LinkedIn is simply one more distraction that has more drawbacks then benefits. When it comes to productivity, I find that I am more productive in the grand scheme of things without having these accounts. There have been several times I’ve caught myself scrolling LinkedIn, reading posts of very little substance, before I realized there was actual work to be done.
The LinkedIn feed itself is filled to the brim with self-promotion, advertisements, and morally disingenuous signaling aimed at communicating good character of a person or company. Most of the people I was connected with didn’t use it, and the ones that were are guilty of doing all of the above. The platform is just too masturbatory for my taste. One of the primary reasons I ditched personal social media was because of the low quality content ending up in front of my eyeballs, and LinkedIn is very similar in that regard.
Furthermore, LinkedIn has devolved into a “walled garden”. In order to view someone’s LinkedIn page, oftentimes you must also be signed in to an active LinkedIn account. Many social media platforms have begun doing this and I absolutely hate this kind of practice. It is a blatant attempt to increase their user base and forcing people to have an account in order to see content users have created. This is yet another reason why I believe it’s important to have your own website. However, it’s entirely possible they did this because information databases were routinely scraping the site for information which would later be sold as a people-search service.
This isn’t to say LinkedIn does not serve a purpose – other people may find value in it that I haven’t addressed. If you’re a newly established company having a LinkedIn presence may give you a credibility bump. If I were operating a business, maybe I’d have a LinkedIn presence and, depending on the company, I’d likely be on other social media platforms because the reality is is that people, lots of people, are on social platforms. However, if I were said business owner, I’d invest heavily in my website.
On a personal basis, it’s not for me. My website exists for the purpose of replacing my social media profiles, including LinkedIn which is why my professional and academic experience has a dedicated page. Will that reduce my visibility? Yes, but I’ve also been investing my time into learning SEO so that my website shows up in search engine results.
My final point is that I’m happy with my current role, though if for some reason I lose my job or become unhappy I might create a new account, however I highly doubt it will ever come to that. It seems, to me, the winning move is not to play for now.
May 24th 2021 Update: How do you respond if this comes up in an interview? I’ve read online that during the hiring process, applicants without a LinkedIn account have been specifically asked this question. Surprisingly, not long after I posted this, I myself was interviewed for a new role and this was brought up during my conversation with HR. It was mentioned that she tried looking for me on LinkedIn and I decided to tackle this head on because I was worried she thought I deleted or blocked her (I had previously worked at this agency and we were once connected). I stated that I deactivated my account because I wasn’t actively looking for work prior to being interviewed and that my website is the home of my professional experience. I was also straight forward and said that I saw LinkedIn as a distraction. This was only a minor part of the conversation and I received the job offer, but I think it’s important to have a legitimate answer prepared depending on the circumstances and the role you’re being interviewed for. Being transparent with your reasoning demonstrates that you’re thinking critically and you’re being intentional with your decision.