LinkedIn, the professional social network. If you haven’t used it, you at least know what it is, or what it was supposed to be.

For those who use LinkedIn in any capacity, you would have seen a gradual decline in the quality of the platform and its content. At a bare minimum, you would have noticed that it has become harder to use, ‘degraded’, somewhat.

CV’s Online

From its humble beginnings as the place to store your professional history online, LinkedIn rapidly became a recruiter’s paradise. If you didn’t have a LinkedIn profile, you weren’t going to get the call from your favourite headhunter.

Don’t even think about trying to crack that next role at ANZ unless you’ve got 254 connections and 112 of them are people at ANZ whom you’ve never actually met.

Sell Sell Sell

Then came the salespeople. Suddenly, the most hated of sales tasks – cold calling – became history. You mean I can look up the right person to talk to straight away, and send them a message directly without having to go through their email or PA? Yippee!

The swathe of sales prospecting messages started and haven’t stopped since. LinkedIn introduced special packages and the concept of InMail where salespeople paid to directly message targeted contacts.

LinkedIn suddenly had itself another revenue stream – paid introductions.

Professional Selfies

Work is just so boring, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be more fun to post jokes? Or better yet, I can take a photo of myself reclining on a beach chair in my bikini, blonde hair flowing and tell everyone how #blessed I am thanks to my choice to become an #entrepreneur, and watch the likes and comments flood in.

So began the era of totally devaluing the content on LinkedIn. At any given time you’ll probably find roughly 50% of your news feed full of irrelevant opinion, pointless commentary, boob-filled selfies or just plain jokes.

A professional network? Only if you’re working at #Uber it would seem.

Microsoft’s buy to die

Fast forward to January 2017 when Microsoft formally takes over LinkedIn. A purchase price in the billions would surely ensure you’d take it seriously? Seems not. Have you seen the LinkedIn messaging platform lately? Looks a little Facebook if you ask me…

So why would Microsoft purchase LinkedIn, the largest professional network in the world? For exactly that reason – direct access to the largest professional network in the world. What better way to grow your targeted database?

So what comes next? Will LinkedIn become victim to its own special ransomware attacks? Send us $300USD in bitcoins or we won’t release your LinkedIn profile back to you?

Clearly I can’t predict the future, but one might be led to believe that the era of LinkedIn actually being a social network is coming to an end. With integration to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM stack on the cards and LinkedIn notifications being directly slotted into Windows 10, one might assume that it may become more ‘software’ than ‘social media’.