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What Happened When I Turned Off LinkedIn Connections

Lately, LinkedIn reminds me more and more of how Facebook was ten years ago. What used to be a helpful network to manage your "profile for work" has turned into a void of unsolicited outreach from people selling anything and everything. That, and speculative invite requests from random people with the sole aim of scraping your email address to add to a sellabale database.

I continue to receive emails to an address I stopped actively using 5+ years ago. Most of these are speculative outreach from recruiters or "one hour consulting" gigs. I asked a few of the senders where they happened across my email address. The answer: a "LinkedIn database" for sale.

It doesn't stop there. Over the past year or so, I've received unsolicited SMS and WhatsApp messages, nudging me if I don't respond to the unsolicited email messages. Once again, I've asked the question "where did you get my mobile phone number from?" The answer, again: "a LinkedIn database."

Every time I receive these messages I block them, report them as spam and - obviously - delete them. This isn't good for anybody. It can't be good for senders, because time and money spent on these databases could be better spent elsewhere. It can't be good for companies building email or SMS sending software or APIs - sender reputation is more important than ever.

And, of course, it's not good for recipients of unsolicited messages. More filter, for more noise.

Thankfully there's a quick and simple solution. Visit this link, and toggle the setting below as I have:

So, what happened when I turned off LinkedIn connections?

I turned "connections" off a few weeks ago - as an experiment - and it changed how I use LinkedIn. It's actually useful again. I spend more time reading useful content, from people in my network I know and trust. Less time deleting invites. People who know me or I've been connected to can still find me there - they know my email address. People who don't know me can still find me on Twitter.

Intros used to be the best part of LinkedIn - until they weren't. Thankfully Connor Murphy is building a better alternative, Bridge. I don't use it as much as I should, but the framework he's created is infinitely better than anything else out there. Connections happen by mutual consent, with no hoodwinking. Just like the best intros have always been.