If there is one important social media website it is LinkedIn, especially if you consider yourself a mature human who wants to interact only with fellow mature humans. The site is excellent for maturity. Even the xoxo kids who would type a lot of nonsense on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere are forced to practice maturity on LinkedIn. Due to the type of people on LinkedIn, the website has made available a number of resources only available for LinkedIn Premium members.
I joined LinkedIn way back in 2012 and over the next 6 years I didn’t find much use of the site. On average I visited the site once a month mostly to find out if I had a new connection request. Around June last year I almost deleted my account but just before finding the delete button I decided to scroll down the news feed, and that’s when I realised there was a lot of discussions I could engage in – job search discussions, hiring and firing discussions, and general discussions about various aspects of the economy that affect the labor market. That’s when I started to explore the many features available on LinkedIn – and discovered the Premium only features.
A lot of LinkedIn features, including ability to send connection requests, communicate with your connections, browse through job offers, send applications for advertised jobs, join groups, and follow influencers from various fields, are free. On the other hand features such as being able to view everyone who has viewed your profile, send messages to those outside your connection network, get insights on advertised jobs e.g. quantity and quality of those who have applied for the same job, and get to learn a lot through LinkedIn courses are Premium only features. There is something I thought was part of LinkedIn Premium – having your profile get featured to members of similar interests, so that those members can send you connection requests.
It was the thought that if I am a LinkedIn Premium member my profile can easily get noticed by fellow LinkedIn members of similar interests that made me give LinkedIn Premium the one month free trial. Few days into the trial however, I discovered that my profile was still being treated as any other free profile in as far as profile prominence on the site is concerned.
Allow me to draw parallels with Tinder, a sex matchmaking App that allows people who sexually like each other to swipe right on one another. Tinder too has free option and paid up options. The free option limits you on the number of swipes you can make every 12 hours, and buries your profile down the swipes from the other swipers. If you pay for the service however, you get allowed to swipe endlessly (absent in LinkedIn as both paid and free versions can only send about 100 connection requests at a time), the app gets your profile on top of the list for most part of the paid up period (totally absent on LinkedIn), allows you to view those who have swiped on you. This last feature is present on LinkedIn as you will get notification of those who have sent you notification request. The advantage LinkedIn Premium has over Tinder is the ability to view all those who have viewed your profile. Another plus for LinkedIn Premium that’s absent on Tinder is the ability to send Inmail messages to those not connected with you on LinkedIn.
After discovering that my LinkedIn Premium profile will not give me any advantage in as far as networking is concerned, I decided to check out on the second most valuable feature, the Learn Feature. The Learn Feature allows LinkedIn Premium members to go through courses of interest – and there are many such courses on LinkedIn.
I started by first going through Lighting in Photography courses, and I tried quite a number of them – three to be precise. I never completed any of those. They were so boring. So much boring that by the third or fourth lesson, the course was running as I sleep on my couch. Then I said since filmmaking is no different from Project Management, I should try a course or two on Project Management. I never completed any of the two that I started. They were equally boring, if not worse.
The reason courses in LinkedIn are boring is the format in which they are presented. Ever attended a boring math class? Or Chemistry class for those who hated chemistry? Or any of those afternoon classes that sent you straight to sleep after heavy lunch? That’s exactly how these LinkedIn courses are produced and presented. Very formal, very official, and definitely very boring. If you are one of those who have taken up any of the interesting YouTube lessons on any subject, then I will advise you to never pay a dime to LinkedIn for their courses.
I must however say that at long last I found two courses that were worth attending, both under two hours – one is Creative DSLR Video Techniques by Ben Long that I completed just a few hours ago and Video Foundations: Cameras and Shooting by Anthony Q. Artis that I must complete before my trial period expires. It must be known however that there is nothing in those courses that someone can’t learn by diligently digging out excellent YouTube videos on the same topics covered by the courses – mostly in more interesting formats. Filmmakers for example will find YouTube channels such as Studiobinder, Film Riot, Film IQ, D4Darious and several others not only informative but very entertaining to watch.
Now, given that if I pay for LinkedIn Premium my profile will not get any special treatment, neither do I find those LinkedIn course worth the time, for what reasons should I pay for LinkedIn Premium membership? Job insights? No those insights do not improve your chances of getting a job, as recruiters do not care whether or not you are a LinkedIn Premium member.
LinkedIn should figure out an actual value that is worth paying for – for as for me I am not going to spend any money on things that I get free of charge.