There are times at which you have no choice but to accept the fact that you’re going to be judged as being callous. At those times, you simply have to be okay with it. That’s why I’m okay if I’m judged as being callous for vehemently expressing this truth: LinkedIn is not Facebook, people.
Look. Facebook was created by five undergraduate students. I don’t care that they were students at Harvard. They were still undergrads. Undergrads care about what you’re doing right now. They care about pop culture and liberal politics. They care about whom you dated and where you went. They care about what you bought, where you bought it, and if you farted while you were buying it. I don’t.
LinkedIn was founded by professional people — former executives from PayPal and Socialnet.com (now Spark.com) — to be a business networking service. Reid Hoffman earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy nine years before he founded LinkedIn in 2002. And he hadn’t been an undergrad for 12 years at that time. He didn’t care about what you were doing then. He doesn’t care now. He doesn’t care what songs you like or about your vendetta against Monsanto. He doesn’t care what concert you went to or about your favorite color. He doesn’t care about your horoscope or where you were the first time you heard “Hello” (gack!). Neither do I.
I’m not unaware or unsympathetic. I know we all retain our Inner Undergrads. That’s why grown men still guffaw at fart jokes. It’s why grown women still giggle over grown men who still guffaw at fart jokes. And it’s why Facebook will never be a credible, effective medium for B2B marketing and advertising. But even if we don’t acknowledge that reality — and even if we only use LinkedIn as a medium in which to pretend to be professional (if not dignified) — can’t we at least agree to that pretense?
So, now you know: I’m a callous, rigid elitist with a misplaced reverence for boundaries, categories, and professionalism.
I’m okay with that.