Re: [newtech-1] Bill Gates links up with LinkedIn

From: Asif Y.
Sent on: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 11:36 AM
EddieN wrote:
> Asif:
>
> On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 11:42 AM, Asif Youssuff <[address removed] 
> <mailto:[address removed]>> wrote:
>
>     In other news, I removed myself from Linkedin:
>
>
> May I ask why? (I'm still assessing LinkedIn to see if it would be of 
> any use to me, and I would like to hear from someone who has used the 
> service and saw fit to leave.)

Well, my leaving will likely have no bearing on whether you want to 
join, but I'll try to explain my reasons for leaving anyway.

First off, I have a basic distrust of social networking in general -- 
I'm not a huge fan of making some large company make more money by 
finding more about me than my friends, and then trying to use that info 
to sell to me, or to resell that information to others. The whole 
concept strikes me as a bit dishonest.

I looked into integrating disqus for the project I posted about (web 
commenting systems) and I took a few minutes to check out a video of the 
CEO being interviewed by Scoble. In true startup fashion, the guy 
skirted around the business model question -- like Scott, I guess he 
feels like it's not so important. But it obviously is. The idea of 
giving a company that really *needs* my (or other peoples') info to be 
successful should try to find another business model, imo, or try to 
provide more value than they currently provide.

Which brings me to my other complaint.

Linkedin is not very useful to me. The network, like pretty much any 
other social network, is based around a circle of self aggrandizement -- 
let everyone know how great of a job I did at my last job, or let people 
know how awesome I am. I prefer to let my work speak for me, and allow 
what I do, (and not what I represent to be myself) to showcase my 
reputation.

Then there are the community features. Unlike facebook or myspace, where 
everything is free, Linkedin seems to follow the adultfriendfinder model 
of charging you for anything but the most basic features. The 
introductory level of features are not meant to provide value to the 
consumer, rather to provide value to Linkedin (and to allow them to make 
a better value proposition for asking you to pay them). Want to get 
introduced to someone? Pay. Considering that the site is supposed to be 
about social networking, it's kinda hard to evaluate them on this (to 
figure out whether paying is worth it) until after you have paid. To me, 
they weren't providing a good enough case for me to pull the trigger on 
my credit card.

The forums on it suck, again, with a whole lot of self-aggrandizement,­ 
and low on content. Or, there are just a host of Victor-like people, who 
continually pimp out one solution or idea, demonstrating that they are 
not actually familiar with the problems at a more basic level, but are 
familiar with products that can (supposedly) solve them. The advice (and 
the people) are somewhat mediocre.

I think that it'd be quite a funny world if search engines like google 
only came up with results of people's social networking accounts instead 
of their web pages and email addresses -- it'd be quite hilarious if 
Linkedin or facebook or whoever actually ended up owning social 
networking to that degree. Just imagine, paying someone just to get your 
email address, or asking you to introduce me to someone. Not a nice 
proposition, imo.

I guess that leads me into why I was able to throw off Linkedin. I never 
paid, making it harder for me to extricate myself from it, it's features 
are not nearly extensive as a Plaxo (which I would point to as a much 
better alternative), the quality of the people are more of the "I get 
paid for this, so I'm a 'professional'" rather than "I know this, so I 
might be able to help you", I find it easier to email/IM/search for 
someone in my social network (or a Connector [jargon: see the tipping 
point]) or forums that I browse than to try to go through a laborious 
process of talking to people that are there only for profit and self 
aggrandizement. I still manage to find good people and keep in contact 
with people over email/blogs, etc. It works for me, and it happens to be 
free (until google starts charging for search results).

Obviously, however, there is a market for these networks, and it's 
likely that the kinds of people that join these sites are a perfect fit 
for one another, but it just isn't for me.

Eddie, what were your thoughts?

-Asif

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