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    The Baffler | 5/10/14 | 21 min
    9 reads5 comments
    The Baffler
    9 reads
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    • jeff
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScout
      3 days ago

      Super interesting spectrum of comments on this one already! I thought the article was pretty hilarious, but I feel like that's a little easier to achieve when you're being hyper-cynical. I'm a fan of that style of writing in general though, or at least I'm not usually turned off by it.

      I never had a LinkedIn account and kind of prided myself on that but I created one about a week ago because @thorgalle told me I had to. I think the only way to really lose is to give too much of a shit about a site like LinkedIn either way; by assigning too much value to it or thinking you're special for abstaining from it.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      Funny, true, very well-written.

      I have met Matt Cohler, a very early employee at Facebook (pre-Newsfeed) who started LinkedIn, and is now a big shot VC of the absolute highest order. His innovation, apparently, was figuring out ways to get people to use LinkedIn even when they weren’t job hunting, with features like endorsements, content, etc. In hindsight, those conversations seem so bizarre. They had nothing to do with building tools and tech that improved people’s lives. Winning is getting more people to use your product more often. That is all. That’s why these products are good for nothing except getting you hooked.

      Articles (and memories) like this make it crystal clear to me why the internet works the way it does. Nobody ever asked the simple question: But is this good for people? Does our product make people happier? Healthier? Anything? That’s not the point and never was the point.

      I’m proud to not be on LinkedIn. That’s my form of real leadership - demonstrating to the world that the impossible (ha!) is possible. (I’m only half kidding. Not having a LinkedIn account as an unproven technology entrepreneur is a gamble. It would be a different story if I was already rich and/or famous. “Fake it ‘til you make it” is why the world looks the way it does, and I’m hellbent on breaking that status quo - both the “faking it” part and the “making it” part. There’s a better way.)

      • thorgalle
        6 days ago

        Re: the article,

        You just end up talking to the sad sacks you already know. From this crushing realization, the paradoxes multiply on up through the social food chain: those who are at the top of the field are at this event only to entice paying attendees, soak up the speaking fees, and slip out the back door after politely declining the modest swag bag.

        I'm on LinkedIn the way I am on all social media: I scarcely visit, I rarely scroll through. But even with those limited impressions, the article feels outdated. I'm looking at LinkedIn as a historical artifact, through the lens of a writer who is very opinionated on "thought leadership", and who seems to mostly want to confirm his prejudice that LinkedIn is good for nothing, for no one.

        At least some things changed in 7 years since. Recruiters abound nowadays, to the point where I'd rather have less of them. And LinkedIn is more than the "perfect antidote to the inherent depression of the fruitless job search". In the same vein as other social media, I appreciate the occasional work-life update from an acquaintance. For example: hearing about the first published story from an acquaintance who interned as a journalist.

        The writer does wittily hold up a mirror against certain situations where I can't help but chuckle in agreement (the "slip out the back door" part of the quote above). But overall the article is too scathing, too generalizing for me. What if talking to a "sad sack" with the same ideas as you leads to something positive? Nowadays I wish I could talk to more sad sacks out in the real world.

        But is this good for people? Does our product make people happier? Healthier? Anything? That’s not the point and never was the point.

        I agree with the question. It is not the point right now, and it should be. Incumbent tech misses a holistic view on the human being and society. It doesn't fit us properly. The point is indeed to extract the most revenue with the least resistance, which leads to a reckless abuse of human psychology and gamed democracies. What Tristan is saying!

        But that doesn't mean that these platforms aren't good for anything. They need to be doing something valuable which attracts people in the first place. And keeps them in. All the toxic hooking won't work if there is no value to be found. Believe it or not, some relationships actually started through Tinder! And I guess that many job openings get filled through LinkedIn today. These platforms have become part of the fabric of society, and they have changed it. They have (big) problems but we can't go back in time. Only forward!

        very well-written.

        PS: also (overly?) literary. I had to look up: irksome, badgering, harried, noisome, rung (noun), mordant, gobbledygook, wan, anodyne, aphorism, peroration, grubby, marshal (verb), trenchant, snake-oil, dyspeptic

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          3 days ago

          I like your comment a lot more than my comment.

    • Alexa
      3 days ago

      Pretty interesting. Seems like a lot of the issue is not just LinkedIn itself, but the banal theater of pretending like we're adult business-people in an online forum. It's not just the model of LI, but the outcome of a pool of people marketing themselves and being gross car-salesmen cliches at it

      Wish a space helped train/encourage people to BE HUMAN and to interact authentically and do work that matters, share without expecting back, and just nope on self-proclaimed influencers, as a whole.

      1. Update (2/24/2021):

        *Wish a space existed that helped... [all those SAT words and I reply with crap English, HA!)