Lost the Magic

LinkedIn jumped the shark years ago, becoming more noise and annoyance than signal and value.

And, I have probably spent more time than necessary sharing my feelings about LinkedIn than it warrants but the product continually reminds me of how quickly (and easily) a once-useful product can become utterly hated.

I received this message the other day and I was reminded, yet again, how LinkedIn is nothing more than a superficial popularity contest, especially if you use it like most folks do:


The reality is that most users just hit the Accept button without even thinking about it – currently I have 27 fresh opportunities to hit that button:

Okay, fine.

But this approach makes the product less useful in the short and long-run, especially when you get requests for legitimate introductions and you realize that only a minuscule fraction of your entire network are folks you really know.

Yup. How pathetic.

But, what a healthy reminder it is for folks who are building communities, social platforms, and the like to remember how tempting it is to build products that ultimately index high on follower / following counts as a perceived source of value.

We know that this isn’t actually true, both in the real world and digitally, yet we continually encounter products that incentivize the end-user to follow as many folks as they possibly can (or be followed and “popular”)..

I think these models are dying and new forms of social platforms will arise to take their place, hopefully “fixing” the fundamental problems that social networking birthed in the early 2000’s.

I hope to be part of the solution – I hope we never lose the magic.