You know what it's like - you're sitting there at 2:40 pm and the whole world has ground to a halt. There is no point drinking more coffee, it just wears you out. The office is mostly quiet and you are staring at a long list of tasks to complete before the end of the day. Suddenly something comes up on LinkedIn (which you just happened to have open) and suddenly a post comes up such as:
With a 'comments ?' at the bottom.
Now the first temptation is to just type in 'contempt' and that is fine - this post is not about recovering anything useful it is about getting you to work for someone other than your employer for free, and it is why LinkedIn is about to re-enter the category of 'banned websites' in the average SME in the UK. Not only has Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn - which is a bad enough sign - but the truth is that no visible effort in improving this site has really been made since it started out. LinkedIn is essentially a stream of people you hardly know (you work with them but they're not in your office or they would just come and speak to you) liking and commenting on a splurge of allegedly business related information. The post above (which I shall post on LinkedIn this week just as an example) does not get sent by someone with a lot of contacts. It is simply sent from a person or to a group where there may be contacts without a lot to do. This means that they will comment their thoughts and that this image will then be displayed to everyone in their own contacts. The time it arrives is no coincidence - middle afternoon humdrum time - and when the image starts to go viral, it becomes more effective, as it is being passed to people from a friendly and partly familiar source. The image itself is simply a way of overcoming the style and text size limitations that LinkedIn has stipulated to stop attention grabbing posts that waste everyone's time. But they overcame these restrictions years ago, so why haven't LinkedIn reacted?
Herein lies the problem, the website is essentially a black hole for time and anyone who is looking at the posts or whatever is simply not doing their job and so probably isn't very important to be getting the attention of anyway. So why do it?
Well lots of social networking comment gets you noticed by search engines as a subject that is being discussed and so you can climb search engine rankings such as Google. So all this activity is helping someone else get more customers on your company time.
The simple truth is that the value of opportunities for business on LinkedIn no longer outweigh the time your staff are wasting by commenting on inane, premieditated nonsense and if LinkedIn don't react, they will find the next big thing will overtake them liek wildfire. Well, actually more like a viral fire really.