Recently, I’ve begun assessing my LinkedIn profile and page because I’ve got a big change in circumstance coming up, and I want to be as up-to-date and relevant as possible. This (as is usual for me) occasioned a fair amount of reading on the subject. (Some samples on how to be a great LinkedIn peep here, here, and here.) On most of the helpful sites I visited, somewhere near the top of the “never, ever, ever, ever do this” list would be something like, “Fail to personalise the default profile picture.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see that default grey box, I think, “Why are you even on LinkedIn?” Uncharitable, I know. It could be that LI is the ONLY place that person really wants to be online, but his/her technical skills don’t run to uploading a picture. Possibly, that might be happening. Don’t believe so, but it is within the realms of possibility to I’ll let it stand. In any case, asking one’s seven year old daughter to help will usually take care of that problem. Sadly, given that I’m supposed to be wafting out rivers of unconditional positive regard on all peoples, I am uncharacteristically annoyed about this issue.
Now, annoyance has become action.
This week, I began disconnecting from all those defaulting dudes and dudettes. I sent a nice little note (really. I can be nice) suggesting that if they’d like to remain a connection, given that spammers and all sorts of nefarious n’er-do-wells use that default picture to hide bad attitudes and deeds of darkness, maybe they’d like to take a moment and personalise their profile? If not, that’s alright then, but at the end of the week, <delete> is going to happen. In response, I’ve had some hilarious notes indicating that the picture would be changed forthwith. Several responses indicated the @#$@#$ profile had been set up automatically by this-or-that app and the respondent would be deleting the profile, thereby saving me the bother. A bit contrary to LinkedIn’s guidelines, I do accept connection invitations from people I don’t know personally when we a) have intersecting interests, and b) they are already connected to someone I do know personally (face-to-face). In this case, if the silhouette was happening, those type of connections I just ditched.
I think of it this way. I am mindful about keeping my face-to-face life and my online presence connected. I am not two people. What you see is what you get, whether on LinkedIn or at Starbucks. I have some cross-over between personal and professional in that I do a bit of self-disclosure on LinkedIn, but I do not have my personal Facebook profile connected to my professional life. I do have my professional FB page connected to LinkedIn, because, well, it’s professional. (www.facebook.com/WilliamAssociates Go ahead… you know you want to check it out). I wouldn’t spend very long with someone who insisted on wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, or a Victorian Silhouette mask every time we met. It soon wouldn’t matter how much our mutual interests overlapped. I’m real, I want real in my friends, companions, colleagues, and collaborators.
So. As much as it might look great on my profile to have a gazillion+ connections like Alan Wilson of Habitat for Humanity, I’ll stick with those peeps who have enough interest in the purpose and potential of LinkedIn connections to get rid of that d**n silhouette.
More suggestions on how to use LinkedIn to your advantage here, here, and here.