In surprising praise of LinkedIn

Written by Laura Chamberlain, Managing Director at Now.

In the playground of social networks LinkedIn is the weird, nerdy kid who was picked last for games.

It looks funny. Its photos are of our sensible, corporate selves, making us look like strangely pained aliens and in my case, like I’m away with the fairies with implausibly blonde hair (L’Oreal, No. 9 in case you’re wondering).

It’s the unnatural, natural habitat of stock photos, so perfectly skewered by Vince Vaughn and co. for their latest movie.

And it talks funny too.

Inciting us to say ridiculous things like ‘congrats’ for a ‘work anniversary’ and encouraging us to ‘upgrade’ and stalk the people who are stalking us. And using awkward American turns of phrase that should be on motivational posters with rainbows and unicorns, like ‘get the edge’ and ‘prepare for the day’.

It also tells whoppers. I’ve been endorsed for all sorts of things, including Creative Direction, which would, no doubt, raise a few eyebrows amongst legitimate Creative Directors.

When someone endorses me for my ‘Culinary Skills’ the game will surely be up, as I’m the sort of domestic goddess who would buy a pre-cooked boiled egg.

But, like the weird, nerdy kids at schools (who are now all quite rightly running tech empires), if you can get past the oddness, there’s a loveliness too.

I recently celebrated my ‘work anniversary’. Given that I have forgotten my wedding anniversary for more years than I have remembered it and that I had to surreptitiously check the kids’ passports the other day when filling in their DOB on a form, it came as quite a surprise.

And being of a control freak disposition, I don’t usually like surprises.

Except this time; my ‘Surprise Work Anniversary’ was really rather lovely. Lots of unexpected people popped into my inbox to wish me love, luck and general good karma. And it made me stop and think. Firstly, that Adland is a tiny pond and that I’m lucky to know so many of the nice fish in it. And secondly, that the last two years have flown by.

At the risk of having a Gwyneth Oscars moment, I would like to say thank you to LinkedIn for reminding me that it really is a very happy birthday thanks to all of the funny, talented people I have worked with and am lucky enough to work with at Now.

Right, that’s enough touchy feeliness from me – I must get back to ‘checking out my connection’s new skills’ and ‘getting the edge in my next meeting’.