Job upgrades and downgrades, and LinkedIn

I think I’ve ranted about LinkedIn here before. I’ve talked about the pointlessness of LinkedIn recommendations (due to selection bias), the further pointlessness of skill endorsement (a desperate attempt by now-public LinkedIn to get users to interact more with each other) and the seemingly ungrammatical “say congrats” (some of these rants might have been on twitter, so not bothering to pull up links).

This post is again about the “say congrats” feature on LinkedIn. When you change your job (or, change your job title on LinkedIn), your contacts see the change on their timeline, with a helpful “say congrats on the new job” hint.

Now, the problem is that not all job changes are upgrades! Sometimes, you might get fired and change your headline from “XXX at YYY” to “ZZZ industry professional”, and LinkedIn asks your contacts to “say congrats”. Another time, you might get tired of your old job, and boldly state on your LinkedIn headline that you are looking for new opportunities (eg. “Software Engineer at XXX, looking for new opportunities”), and LinkedIn again jumps the gun and asks your friends to “say congrats”. At other times, you might make a job switch which looks eminently like a downgrade (especially for people who understand both your old and new jobs). And LinkedIn rubs it in and asks your contacts to “say congrats”.

It seems like LinkedIn needs better data scientists. And people who can make better sense of how to get their users to talk to each other and create value out of a network that is well past its fast growth phase.

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