So this week I shut down my Linked In Profile.
Linked In, to those who may not know, is a social networking website primarily designed for the business world. People essentially list a version of their resume - with work history, education, certifications, publications, etc. - and then "link" with other individuals. It is really a sort of Facebook for the business world. For the most part people keep politics and most personal things off of it.
It was a benign membership. It never really brought me any grief. One could occasionally follow up on previous coworkers to see where they had ended up and and what they were doing.
So why, you are asking, would I have discontinued such a thing? A combination of reasons"
One, a call today from an organization whose certification I no longer use and let expire but who is wanting me to come back (with the fee, of course). Old business left unfinished always returns.
Two, a realization that it was not really contributing anything to my life at all. People create their profiles either to sell themselves or to sell something to someone else. In that sense, it has none of the merits of a social network such as Facebook. Even friends only discuss business on it, if at all. Is that really something that adds value to my life?
Third, I have never really benefited from it (to be sure, I have not "used" it to its full potential). No jobs ever came through it. Occasional recruiters trying to sell me (or drop you just as quickly) or sales people really trying to sell me. And articles which, if I were really interested, I could find somewhere else.
Fourth, it was just another beacon to someone, another easy way to gather a fair amount of information about me without making them work at all. Why leave myself that exposed in public?
It will be a trial run, of course - you have 20 days to "revive" your profile and I certainly did that with Twitter once or twice before finally cutting the plug. But, using Twitter as the example, I can already predict the results: after a week or so of false starts to get updates and not being able to log in, I will find that I am not missing it at all.
And just like that, a little piece of freedom pops back into my life. How often does that occur?