Beware the RMS LinkedIn!

Who remembers Myspace?

A pioneering social networking website – focused on the music and video communities, and with a fascinating history – Myspace rocketed to fame in the early 2000s.  But then came Facebook (in 2004) and Myspace became a classic example of the folly of building one’s entire social media presence in one place.

At first, they seemed evenly matched; since then, Myspace has sunk like RMS Titanic.  Its revenues are now less than 1% of Facebook’s, and its March 2015 Alexa ranking (that’s a California-based company that analyzes commercial web traffic) was 1,587 and sinking (vs. 2 for Facebook).

Like its nemesis, Myspace became a massive campground where people set themselves up, networked, shared, and – in some cases – advanced their artistic careers.  But when everyone started Facebooking, fewer and fewer really cared.  Although still alive (and part-owned by Justin Timberlake), it continues to fade away.

LinkedIn is also a specialized social network, this one catering to the business community (if you have to hustle for your dollars, you really ought to check it out).  Far and away the dominant website in today’s career space, many of its members are rocking and rolling their way to success.

But like the Titanic, LinkedIn is a juggernaut with a captive audience – and you need to build a LinkedIn lifeboat.  History has a way of repeating itself, and eventually LinkedIn will cease to be the source of your career mojo.  Who knows when and why?

  • perhaps, like Myspace, it will be trounced by the new kid on the block
  • if you’re a paying subscriber, LinkedIn’s subscription fees may rise (which is easy to do when you own the market)
  • if you’re not a paying subscriber, you may find more and more pressure to upgrade (hmm… where did that feature go? What?  I have to PAY for it now?)
  • despite its security features, LinkedIn IS a major hackers’ target (and you wouldn’t want it to go all Ashley Madison on you)
  • your account might get deleted, perhaps through no fault of your own
  • it’s functionality may change in ways that are not to your or your network’s liking (hey – what happened to endorsements!) or the party may get spoiled because it’s accused of unfair business practices (MicrosoftGoogle…I think you get the picture)
  • finally – although this is unlikely – negative incorrect or even incorrect information about you (also known as “digital dirt“) might find its way into the site

So in order to ensure that longer-term, our professional presence and brand will be alive and well, you should always be prepared to evacuate the RMS LinkedIn.

And how?  In the short term, this means regularly exporting your LinkedIn data and storing whatever you publish on your personal computer (or in the cloud).

In the longer term, a smart strategy is to find, join, and participate in OTHER social networks that are in alignment with your career activities.  Although these will be much smaller than LinkedIn, their members may well need someone like you.  Your skills, credibility, networking reach, and fortunes will all benefit.

These ideas apply to your participation in any social network, not just LinkedIn (but we’ll always have Facebook, right?)

Now go forth and diversify!

Paul Raworth Bennett (Founder and Principal of NOVA Career Strategies) is a résumé expert, LinkedIn consultant, and Reach-certified Personal Branding Strategist (who was lucky enough to have Susan Chritton and Kirsten Vernon as his instructors).  If you want to star in your own career, Paul would be happy to connect with you via the NOVA Career Strategies website, his Twitter account, or through his LinkedIn page.


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