Guest Posts, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools

5 Reasons Linkedin is Boring in a Good Way

Anthony Juliano is the Vice President of Marketing and Social Media Strategy at Asher Agency, a Midwest-based marketing strategy firm. Anthony speaks and writes about a variety of social media and marketing topics, with a specific focus on LinkedIn. Connect with him at

LinkedIn has a reputation for being… well, a little dorky. In fact, if social media sites were high school kids, Pinterest would be the prettiest girl, Facebook would be the most popular kid, and Twitter would be the cool, edgy dude with a knack for setting trends.

What would LinkedIn be? Remember the nerdy kid who got straight A’s but who didn’t go to the prom, mainly because it was on the same night as chess club? Yeah, that’d be LinkedIn.

This has certainly been perpetuated in the media. Tech Crunch has called LinkedIn “the boring social network that won’t find you a date but may land you a job.” CNN’s Victor Hernandez said on Twitter that “LinkedIn is boring’ is fast becoming its corporate motto.” And Business Insider took things a step further by saying that “LinkedIn’s lousy sex appeal could end up killing it.”

Is LinkedIn Boring?

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman: too sexy for this post. ‘Reid Hoffman’ by jdlasica on Flickr

So, are they right? Is LinkedIn boring? The honest truth is that it can be–certainly as compared to the likes of Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter. But is LinkedIn’s lack of “sex appeal” a bad thing? In reality, the fact that LinkedIn is boring may actually be one of its greatest assets. Here are a few reasons why.

1. LinkedIn’s audience is focused on work, not play.

If you want to talk about shopping, books, movies, hobbies, or you personal life, you won’t find much of an audience on LinkedIn. Most LinkedIn users, you see, are laser focused on their professional life, looking for resources that can help them grow as professionals or help them grow their business. That makes LinkedIn a lot like real-world business networking events–which can be, admittedly, a little boring (especially in comparison to the pool party that is Facebook). The advantage, though, is that if you focus your efforts on LinkedIn on how you can be a resource to your connections, your approach will likely be well received.

2. No photos or videos means more focus on words–including your words.

If you look at what generates conversations on Facebook, you’ll quickly see that photos and videos get more attention than text-only status updates. On Pinterest, of course, photos are the whole point. LinkedIn is much different. The only photos on the site, other than those in ads and stories, are users’ profile photos. The only videos are the rare few you’ll find embedded in company pages or member profiles (like this one). That makes text dominant–and presents a great opportunity to keep the audience focused on what you have to say, if you say it well and make it relevant.

3. Less activity overall equates to less noise–and a better chance for you to stand out.

Because relatively few LinkedIn users update their status, the news feed is pretty quiet–especially as compared to Facebook and Twitter. That presents another opportunity for you to stand out simply by being willing to share what you know.

4. Unlike Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, LinkedIn won’t likely lead you down a rabbit hole.

I’ve heard friends talk about getting “sucked in” to Pinterest, and losing “hours” on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone make the same statement about LinkedIn. From my perspective, one of LinkedIn’s biggest advantages is that users log in, get what they need, and log out. There aren’t a lot of people using LinkedIn just to kill time, and that means they’re more action oriented and intentional then they are on other sites.

5. No “wall” and no “tagging” means you have control over your message.

The great thing about your Facebook profile is that it’s shaped by the people in your network as much as yourself. It’s all about interaction, and letting others define the terms of the conversation by mentioning your name in status updates, for example, and tagging you in photos. But what if you don’t want others to chime in, or what if what they say isn’t helpful to you? What if, for example, you want to focus your Facebook page on your profession, but your friends mention you in statuses and tag you in photos unrelated to your work? That’s where LinkedIn users have an advantage. There’s no wall, and no tagging, so the opportunity for others to publicly engage with you are limited. Pretty much the only way they can jump in is by liking or commenting on your status updates, and it’s unlikely they’ll say something wholly unrelated to the conversation you’ve started. That makes for less engagement–but a more focused message overall.

The truth is, LinkedIn does offer a lot of things that are pretty exciting. A great window into your contacts’ world and the chance to make an impression on them every day. The opportunity to understand–and leverage–the interconnections within your network. An unmatched conversion rate. And just like that nerdy high school kid, a lot of untapped potential.

So, if you’re looking to hang out with the cool crowd, LinkedIn may not be for you. But if you want to focus your efforts and connect with an audience that’s equally as focused, you’re likely to get exactly what you want out of LinkedIn–as long as you’re willing to put up with a few yawns along the way.

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  1. awelfle says

    Thanks for the guest post, Anthony! I try to use LinkedIn as much as I can, but it’s “boringness” often turns me off it. Twitter’s wide-openness and ease of discovery makes it my default posting/listening tool. 
    I’ll try to keep your points above in mind next time I log on to LinkedIn!
    Also, which social media network is akin to the homeschooler who was way into journalism and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas?

  2. DanOnBranding says

    Interesting that you never compare LinkedIn to Google+, which I contend is the biggest potential threat when businesses utilize its applications. I don’t think people will or should leave LinkedIn but I haven’t seen enough evolution of its applications compared to, say, Google Apps. Resting on its laurels is dangerous for the long-term when Google Plus is growing the way it has.

  3. says

    I think I married Linkedin because you just described my husband. Seriously though, you are so right. I fell in love with Linkedin AND my husband for the same reasons — I value their contributions, they are both pretty transparent, and I can get down to business without apology.

  4. willsmith says

    Been spending more time on LinkedIn lately (don’t we all when looking for a new job!). Agree with your characterization of it. What really surprises me is how many people are ACTIVE there given its boring nature. The one thing i dislike about LI though is the connection with new people aspect. Unless you have someone who can make introductions, it can be hard to reach new people. 

    • says

       @willsmith Here’s a little trick. Go to the person’s profile and see what groups they have joined. Find one that interests you and join it as well. Now you have the ability to invite the person to connect, but I suggest you don’t abuse it. I have also connected with people by checking the” friend” box. When I do, I am careful to explain why I am so insistent to connect and I demonstrate that I have invested in learning about them first. Good luck in the job hunt!

      • ajjuliano says

         @browneknows  @willsmith Great advice. Groups are an excellent way to get one step closer to those you want to connect with, if you’re willing to be patient and start by listening to the conversations they start and participate in, and then join those conversations. There are no shortcuts, but Groups are one of the best tools on LinkedIn or building new relationships.

  5. says

    LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for connecting with professionals.  I couldn’t agree more with the comment “Unlike Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, LinkedIn won’t likely lead you down a rabbit hole.”

  6. good_people says

    There’ll always be talk of this Social platform vs. that one. I believe they’re all just part of ‘the Social Web’ though and that will evolve to where platforms become less of the point, relationships, personal branding, engagement (real communication) and information more of the point.
    So continuing your analogy Anthony, LinkedIn, G+, Facebook, Twitter… they’re all just rooms in the ‘Social Web’ mansion, and you can wander in & out of any room, any time, 24/7 Networking – to listen, observe, engage, brand, lead, follow, consume, create – or any combination of the above!

  7. aliriop says

    @garrett_moon Hi! There, Long time not seeing you around. Hope all is well, fun post. Thks for the RT, hvae a grt day & lets keep in touch

  8. says

    I have to disagree with #4 but only because I love LinkedIn. (am I a geek? LOL) I could spend hours on the site answers questions, participating in discussions and looking at the careers of fellow colleagues. I am not a Facebook user but I do use Twitter and can definately see the difference. Signed up for Pinterest but looking at pictures all day loses my interest fast (how the heck can you spend so much time there – I have no idea!). Reading discussions, clicking on interesting links and facilitating thought-worthy conversations is what I crave and I get that from LinkedIn.

  9. saduros says

    @SquaredAwayBC my pro networks now use FB pages. I’ve always used LI regularly; now like LI “Twitter” feed. so yes Do I agree? #socialmedia

      • saduros says

        @SquaredAwayBC Am in process of redoing my blog so it better reflects my skills and knowledge. Perhaps Iyes?. #socialmedia

      • saduros says

        @SquaredAwayBC re social media consulting – does the space feel overcrowded to you? It does to me. Where is the blue ocean? #socialmedia

  10. says

    Great thoughts, Andrew! Very nicely written, too. LinkedIn is very efficient, very functional, and ideal for certain specific uses. As with any social media outlet, it pays to develop the strategy then chose the right outlet accordingly – not start with the outlet. When it comes to professional networking, LinkedIn leads the category all the way. Product development, customer service or social chatter? Nope. Fit the tool to the purpose.

  11. says

    Great post! It is true, Linkedin might be boring but it’s fantastic to make connections. It’s a great way for entrepreneurs and their business to get known and to get feedback (on whatever they’re working on). Facebook is very personal at times and it puts you at risk of “delicate” situations. For any professional, Linkedin is a must.

  12. says

    LinkedIn is networking on steroids.More than half of the top CEOs have a profile on this social network site.It is also a great opportunity for B2B lead generation. 

  13. timotis says

    Great post, Anthony. I truly think the biggest advantage LinkedIn has is a purpose. As more content gets pushed in social networks, the vision for those networks gets lost because consumers define it. LinkedIn, as you say, allows one to control the message – thus keeping the vision alive. I know I’m jumping in late here, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your perspective and had to comment. I’m in full agreement.

  14. says

    Great post! I really like that as mentioned above, LinkedIn has a purpose. Takes out the guesswork. I am there to take care of business then I am done for that period of time. It isn’t the most interesting place to be, but it is necessary.

  15. says

    As you said when we work with other sites, we get distracted from work. The instant messenger will be on and most of the time I will be replying to messages than work. But with Linkedln it is more work. With Linkedln I was able to generate more leads and so it is cool for me. 

  16. says

    As you said when we work with other sites, we get distracted from work. The instant messenger will be on and most of the time I will be replying to messages than work. But with Linkedln it is more work. With Linkedln I was able to generate more leads and so it is cool for me. 

  17. says

    As you said when we work with other sites, we get distracted from work. The instant messenger will be on and most of the time I will be replying to messages than work. But with Linkedln it is more work. With Linkedln I was able to generate more leads and so it is cool for me. 

  18. says

    As you said when we work with other sites, we get distracted from work. The instant messenger will be on and most of the time I will be replying to messages than work. But with Linkedln it is more work. With Linkedln I was able to generate more leads and so it is cool for me. 

  19. Jessica Soens says

    Well said. I am a huge proponent of LinkedIn consuming more time in people’s lives than Facebook, at least for people who really care to succeed professionally. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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