Once in a while for the past few years, I have received “An Invitation to Connect on LinkedIn,” typically from a former student. These invitations arrived in my inbox despite the fact that I did not actually have a LinkedIn account. Recently, however, I started receiving invitations from former students and decided that LinkedIn might actually be a better way to keep track of what sorts of professional lives my former students are leading than Facebook. The obvious benefit is that I can keep track of these professional lives without being inundated by information about the associated private lives. Since joining, I’ve made over 20 “connections,” some of which are with former students while others are with friends and former colleagues.
So far, it has worked well for keeping track of occupations, etc., but I was shocked by how intrusive LinkedIn is. (I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised since I received such a large number of requests before I even had an account.) Most surprising was the fact that LinkedIn wants very badly to access my e-mail accounts so that it can suggest possible connections. In fact, it reminds me of this every time I log in. Although I understand that the site is designed to keep track of professional contacts, LinkedIn’s “Endorsements” in a wide variety of things seems unnecessary to me. I don’t care if somebody has endorsed me for higher education!
In all, I hope that LinkedIn will be useful but I would appreciate if it did so without being so annoying.