This article contains criticism which, I believe, leads to new opportunities in behaviour-led innovation.
Navigating the Changing Landscape of LinkedIn
With over 310 million users, LinkedIn, originally heralded as the quintessential professional networking platform, has experienced a perceptible shift over the years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. A platform once respected for its authenticity and peer-to-peer connections now grapples with issues of trust and credibility due to a surge in automated profiles and a drift toward a pay-to-play model.
Over-Connectivity and Dilution of Genuine Connections
The pandemic-induced digital boom caused a flurry of online activity, significantly impacting LinkedIn’s networking dynamic. Many sought new opportunities, connections, and virtual networks as the physical world locked down. But the spike in connectivity came at a cost: the dilution of genuine relationships.
LinkedIn’s expansive user base also contains a myriad of profiles that range from being slightly embellished to entirely fraudulent. Although LinkedIn removed 11.9 million fake accounts at registration and another 4.4 million before they were ever reported by other users in 2021, and since then, the platform faces an uphill task in policing the authenticity and reliability of user profiles amidst the sea of duplications and unreliable information.
With the lack of stringent verification processes, users can embellish, or even fabricate, credentials and experiences, muddying the waters for recruiters and connections who seek genuine, qualified contacts. Moreover, copied profiles — those that mimic the identities of real professionals — further clutter the platform and complicate the validation of genuine profiles. This creates a murky environment where trust and authenticity are persistently under siege.
In a world where quantity began to outweigh quality, the lines blurred between authentic human connections and mechanically automated profiles. Bots and fake profiles proliferated, sending connection requests and messages, often making it difficult to discern real potential contacts from artificial ones.