Thanks, LinkedIn.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably sick of reading scathing attacks on LinkedIn by now. Hell, I am too, and I kind of invented the genre.

I’m like the Fritz Lang of trolling this particular company, and by now you know just how many fundamental problems I have with their business model, data integrity and the fact that almost everyone in their editorial, PR or legal functions is a gigantic douchebag.

You get it, I hope. If not, I hope your share price bounces back by the time your equity finishes vesting. Sure is a hell of a view over there in Mountain View, though. Almost worth the astronomical rent for that shitty studio you’re too busy to ever actually go to, you know?

Good news is, your 2k bonus in restricted stock options you just got from Jeff Weiner can go towards the costs of doing business in Silicon Valley. Sand Hill Road is paved with gold.

 

Why I Admire LinkedIn (For One Thing, C’mon).
With the news full of news about the battle over user privacy between Apple and the federal government, the collision of public policy and cloud computing is already setting off tidal waves that should, by any logical application, provide a whole lot of unprecedented legal precedents around what tech companies can and can’t disclose about their members.

It’s an important test case, obviously, and one that likely will force LinkedIn to dramatically readdress some major capability gaps around PID storage, usage and even ownership, no matter what the outcome might happen to be in the actual test case. When you market yourself like a consumer technology company, sometimes there are some downsides, I suppose.

What I do want to call out is that LinkedIn is, in fact, consistent in its hands off approach to managing its own members and network. That really sucks when it comes to stuff like LIONs or the flurry of obnoxious InMails, but when you’re an editor whose favorite target happens to be your product, turns out, it’s actually really awesome.

Here’s the deal. At no point in time has LinkedIn ever tried to censor my content, remove it from their network, restrict or repeal my membership (which I suspect is at a rate that’s way, way below market considering the price I pay versus the features they let me access).

They have never manually removed any content, no matter how controversial, from their algorithms and have allowed free posting, commenting and dialogue on dozens of posts directly critical of the way they do business. While I might be persona non gratis with the powers that be in Mountain View, it doesn’t much matter to me because the fact is their network has amazing reach when your singular audience is recruiting and staffing practitioners.

They’re my biggest traffic driver, a powerful platform for content about how badly they suck, and have even made Recruiting Daily one of their recommended publishers, for reasons completely contrary to logic or business interests.

I loathe a lot of what LinkedIn does, and I’m obviously not afraid to voice that. But I’d be remiss in not also giving them a shout out for oddly being perhaps the most consistent supporters of the Freedoms of Speech and Press, in pretty much every case since we officially ceased official communications and I went rogue. Those rights are more important to me than anything in recruiting, HR or even technology.

So while I still loathe LinkedIn, I did want to take a moment and say something to them that’s long overdue: thank you for fighting censorship, even if it’s accidental or out of apathy. You seriously have provided the rare example of an open, unfiltered forum (for better or worse) with minimal to no intervention on your end whatsoever.

That’s actually pretty cool, if you think about it. But I try not to. You ass hats.

8 Comments on “Thanks, LinkedIn.

  1. I still can’t decide whether LinkedIn’s generous approach to Freedom of Speech is worth the reams of pithy thought leader quotes and mathematical challenges. But then there’s probably a way I can switch them off, if I took the time to find out.

    • I just had to point out the fact that they were doing one thing right, intended or not. That buys me another 4 posts of talking shit according to the Pareto Principle.

  2. When I first started reading, I was wondering if someone hacked your account! Which then got me thinking jeez, what would the perfect anti-Charney blog constitute? What would it touch on, and would it reflect your snarktacular stylings, or a more average/boring tone?

    But this blog entry also raises a question: if there’s security through obscurity, what does that make what LI is doing?

  3. This is like those people that burn the flag while citing freedom of speech under that country’s flag. Great to read.

  4. You know, I was thinking the same thing recently. What is the actual source of this policy? Is it really Intentional and for the right reasons? Now that you have pointed this out I would like to see how long it continues. I have to think with the overwhelming amount of bad things they do then this must not be for the right reasons. So honestly Matt I think your praise although for the right reasons is unfortunately misplaced.

  5. Agreed – too many platforms out there today have such a tight grip on what gets published. Linkedin has its issues (like stuff not working half the time), but at least we can say what we think.

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