David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Dead Link(edIn)

July 25, 2014

I just don't get LinkedIn.  I'd rather be LockedOut.

I have no illusions about social media these days anyway.  FaceBook is littered with more crap than I care to look at, but I do.  I haven't found any reason to explore Twitter, Pintarest, or who knows what else.  I only stay with LinkedIn because it has been beaten into my brain that it is valuable for the world of (net)work(ing).  I will even admit that this week I made my first truly useful connection through LinkedIn with someone from Notre Dame who may be able to help us find graduate students who could serve as adjuncts.  Of course, initially I met him the old-fashioned way of networking -- at a party. 

LinkedIn promised so much more: constant feeds of news and editorials on subjects that form our professional interests.  It didn't take me long to join discussion groups related to several areas of higher education, fiction writing, and general business.  I have been let down though.  The discussion group for "Higher Education Teaching and Learning" should be the model shown for how to completely kill creative and unique thinking.  Discussion threads share the same traits as all online commentary, random rantings and mindless jumping on bandwagons. Most disappointing is the continual devaluation of the English language.  That is, unless you see exclamation marks and question marks as the crowning jewels of communication.  Here are just a few from my latest feeds. 

For the emphatic phanatic:

"Ban For-Profit Colleges!" (a Manager's Choice, I am told.)

"The Demerits of a Uniform Global Educational Framework !" (sic for the space before the exclamation mark.)

"WHEN TEACHERS BECOME CHEATERS!" (Capitals for when the exclamation mark just won't convey enough emphasis.)

"Ban Laptops in the Classroom!" (Both "bans" here are from same author, who apologizes for excessive banning, but not excessive exclamating.)

For the questionables:

"How Do You Plan the Campus of the Future?" (Linked without any commentary to the Chronicle of Higher Ed article of the same name.)

'Can Analytical Help Colleges Graduate for Students?" (Linked without any commentary to a Government Technology article of the same name, sans typos: "Can Analytics Help Colleges Graduate More Students?")

"Should Colleges Help Undocumented Students?"

"Should A College Education Be Free?" (All of these have been posted by the same former university president and now consultant.  For those of who answer, do we get a cut?)

If I turn to the "Pulse," which apparently links to every blog I could ever care about related to my interests, I don't get much better.  More questions and now a lot of lists:

"Foursquare: Why Making Things Complicated?"  (More grammar atrocity.)

"The Three C's of Content Curation."

"3 Embarrassing Career Mistakes I'll Never Make Again."

"9 Ways To Destroy Your Team."

"What if the Bully is the Owner?"

"3 Ways To Teach and Lead."

"Tina Fey's Top 5 Rules for Business."

"Is That Even a Word?"

"Quiz: What Football Star Leader Are You?"

"5 Business Lessons from Market Basket."

"Are Killer Robots on the Rise?"  (Is this LinkedIn or freaking Buzzfeed?)

Almost all of these discussion threads and blogs solicit a small number or responses from an apparent legion of followers, usually with nothing more to add than "Nice post, "So Right," or "Thumbs Up."  Our intellectual capacities have been shredded to cocktail napkin exchanges, marginal commentary, and yearbook platitudes. 

More distressing, I read today that LinkedIn may be one of the web's best dating sites.  Wonderful.  Why look for a public relations director when I could find a personal relations director?  Since this barely elevates the site above "relationship status" for Facebook, I no longer feel guilty about posting this blog as is -- in many ways, no more intellectual than everything mocked above.