Disadvantages of Linkedin
By Leigh Richards
While LinkedIn is a great social media networking tool, and arguably the most professional of such tools available, it is not without its disadvantages. These include the potential of a profile or activity causing harm to your professional reputation as well as causing you to overlook professional contacts who are not actively engaged on LinkedIn. As you create a profile or build an active presence on the site, it's important to also be conscious of some of its downfalls.
The Required Investment of Time
Possibly one of the biggest disadvantages of LinkedIn, as with other social media tools, is the investment of time required to use it most effectively. While setting up a profile is relatively easy and does not require design expertise, the robust nature of the site means that there are many resources to navigate through, from Groups to Answers to making connections with others, which also makes it very time-consuming. For those interested in establishing a presence without a loss of work time, a good best practice is to be very strategic in terms of deciding which areas of the site to focus on and how much time to spend on a daily or weekly basis.
Not Everybody is Actively Engaged in LinkedIn
While LinkedIn boasts more than 100 million users as of this article's publication, the figure is a reported one, and can be misleading. Users who have created a profile may not be actively participating, and may not check it on a regular basis. Adding or making contacts on the site may not necessarily translate into a social business network, particularly if focusing on making those contacts online causes you to less actively seek out direct connections with key business contacts. Fortunately, it is easy to search to find out which contacts are on the site and to view their profiles to determine level of activity, should it prove more beneficial to reach out to them instead via email or otherwise.
One big concern with LinkedIn, as with all social media sites, is privacy. LinkedIn provides the opportunity for you to adjust your settings to control who can see your activity broadcasts or activity feed, who can see when you've viewed their profile, who can see your connections and who can see your profile photo and visibility. Your decisions about how to manage your privacy settings will be based on your objectives in using the site and the levels of privacy you are personally comfortable with.
While it is possible to manage your privacy settings on LinkedIn, the nature of social media means that at least some people will be able to see some of what you're doing and saying some of the time. Managing and protecting your reputation online is important because what goes online stays online--and can be readily shared with others. Posts made on LinkedIn through updates, Groups participation and involvement on Answers, are relevant examples, and without exercising caution both in the writing and content, have the potential to be damaging.
It is important to be cognizant at all times that what you are doing is public and to think carefully about the reputation you are establishing through your profile and contacts. A profile that lists a past employer as current, for instance, might send a sloppy message to others. Outdated references call into question whether you have done anything of note lately. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your face to the world, but it won't be useful unless it's accurate, relevant and kept up-to-date.
Leigh Richards has been a writer since 1980. Her work has been published in "Entrepreneur," "Complete Woman" and "Toastmaster," among many other trade and professional publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Arts in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.