The "Chatroulette" of the Business Networks
Do you know the "Chatroulette Song" by Jon Lajoie? I have never used Chatroulette, but thanks to videos like this, I have an idea of what is going on there. But this post is not about Chatroulette. It's about expectations and reality and how the two clash from time to time. I think Jon's song talks about this mismatch in a funny but accurate way.
I think about this song and "expectations vs. reality" every time I visit LinkedIn. If you ask ChatGPT what LinkedIn is, it gives you the following answer (Disclaimer: I shortened it):
It is designed to connect professionals from various industries and facilitate networking, job hunting, and career development.
LinkedIn has become a crucial platform for professionals worldwide, serving as a valuable tool for networking, job searching, and staying informed about industry trends.
Sounds great, doesn't it? It's all about networking. Connect with like-minded people. Stay informed about industry trends. That's what we are looking for. A network for professionals. No hate speech. No inappropriate comments. Just professionals discussing the trends and burning topics of their respective industries.
I have another YouTube link for you. It's the song "Reality Hits You Hard, Bro". Because it does.
But let's start with a good aspect of LinkedIn. A lot is going on there. A lot of people post a lot of things. And they don't just post stuff. There is also a lot of activity in the messaging system. I get a lot of messages on LinkedIn. People reaching out to me with interesting messages. Some of them even read my profile and asked questions about my current position. How nice. Maybe it's someone from my industry, who wants to pick my brain or who wants to discuss the current trends.
But do you know what happens if you answer those messages? Business happens. Sales happens. Recruiting happens. The only thing that won't happen is real networking. Discussing current trends and burning topics. Not. Gonna. Happen.
It's all sales. I know that. But some of those sales people really know their stuff. Occasionally I get very nice (initial) messages. Thoughtfully crafted and tailored to my interests. For example about software development. Even though programming is no longer part of my day job, I still love coding. But after 2 messages (latest) the conversation is no longer about software development. The next message will look like this:
Speaking about development: I'm offering Service XYZ which will make your customer experience better! Is customer experience something you care about?
"Is customer experience something you care about?" Really? Is that your question? Because if I don't use (and pay for) your service, I don't care about customer experience, right?
Have you ever heard of Godwin's law? It says: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."
For me, there is something like LinkedIn's law: "As a conversation on LinkedIn grows longer, the probability of it turning into a sales pitch approaches 1."