When a Social Superstar Quits LinkedIn

June 4th, 2012 | by Jason Alba |

Chris Brogan deleted his LinkedIn account. He’s done. You can read about it here.

I’m not surprised that he deleted his account.  If you haven’t heard of Chris, he really is a superstar in the social and networking space.  He is a popular speaker and blogger and has made a great career out of what he does.  He has many followers, fans and people who listen to his ever word.  Look at his blog – most of his posts have a ton of comments (compared to other blogs).

What does it mean that he quit LinkedIn? Here are my random thoughts:

The first thought is that it was like Oprah saying to not eat beef (or whatever she said). Chris has a lot of influence, as at least one person in the blog comments pointed out (alluding that his power and influence would impact a lot of others who model him).

My second thought was that he wasn’t using LinkedIn. Just like my post last week, with the unused hammer, if you don’t use the tool you can’t expect to get anything out of it.  I don’t fault Chris for not using it – LinkedIn perhaps didn’t make it easy for him to use.  LinkedIn has seemed to be behind the other social tools when it comes to sharing ideas, which Chris does.  If LinkedIn is an optimized database for lead generation, but not optimized to share thoughts, would it work for someone like Chris?  How much work would he have to do to learn to use it, and how many hours would he have to spend to find work (gigs, contracts, speaking, etc.)?

My third thought was that it serves LinkedIn right. They have done a horrid job at listening to users.  Six years ago I was in a group of users (doesn’t exist anymore) who were awesome evangelists for LinkedIn.  They were power users and I know they were responsible for getting a lot of people actually using LinkedIn.  But LinkedIn wouldn’t give any of us the time of day.  They were rude, disrespectful, and basically told us to go away.  I know at least three of them who have since moved on.  Not because of the tool, but the way LinkedIn HQ treated them.

My fourth thought is that it’s no big deal that Chris Brogan leaves, and unendorses LinkedIn. Although he has a huge name, many people don’t know who he is, and his leaving probably won’t impact LinkedIn’s business.  When people go to the store to look for a hammer, they get a hammer, right?  If you are looking for an online tool to help you find customers, or a new job, etc., you’ll go to LinkedIn.  If you don’t use it (either the hammer or LinkedIn), you think others will believe it’s the tool’s fault?

I like Chris.  Think he’s a brilliant thinker.  I respect what he’s done with his business, and I respect his decision.  Some LinkedIn trainer jumped on the comments and tried to help him see the error of his ways, but here’s the bottom line: Chris uses tools that are working for him.  They might not be the tools he uses in five years, but for now they are tools where he puts his time.  And LinkedIn didn’t do it for him.

What do you think?  To premature?

  1. 4 Responses to “When a Social Superstar Quits LinkedIn”

  2. By Steve Duncan on Jun 4, 2012 | Reply

    Smells a little tantrumy, but LinkedIn has always been customer service disabled. Certainly, no sensible person would ever give them money.

    I don’t think it means much of anything, really. Chris is about due to be replaced by the next social media superstar – probably someone who figures out how to reunite the country using pinterest. 8-)

  3. By Fred Dempster on Jun 4, 2012 | Reply

    “Back in the day” – well, in 2004 anyhow, I got on a beta track and had some early insights, plus some feedback, and when Signal came out Estaban Kozak was helpful… other than that the family feeling went away in 2009 forward as droves of new unemployed joined and the user community went nuts on any “social order.” Today I chuckle as I see folks spamming others posts with job roles – they think this is Facebook?

  4. By Jason Alba on Jun 7, 2012 | Reply

    @Steve, the funny thing about his post is that there really isn’t a lot of information as to why… just a glitch like what he talks about is probably not the real root.

    Interesting thoughts about Chris being replaced, and someone reuniting us with Pinterest :p

    @Fred, interesting. It’s always fun to hear early user experience… it’s certainly changed over the years!

  5. By John E. Bredehoft on Jun 8, 2012 | Reply

    I have never officially done business with Chris Brogan, but at some point he invited people to connect to him on LinkedIn. I took advantage of the opportunity, primarily because of his connections. While Brogan could not personally recommend me to one of his connections – as I noted, we’ve never done business – it is certainly beneficial to have a connection with someone via someone you respect.

    When connections are so important, I can understand why Brogan would be displeased by a connections glitch. Maybe that is the real root – or maybe all of us connections were wasting his time.

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