My friend Jojo and I have an issue with LinkedIn. We’ll discuss this every so often and always with the same upshot: Why is this happening to us?
The People You May Know toolbar on the side of the LinkedIn homepage invites clicking. The first time I did it, I scrolled along the faces and names with casual interest, until my heart stopped. From then on, I clicked with a great sense of dread.
Like Facebook, the tool is meant to be helpful by matching up your email contacts with people who also use these social media sites. That said, it also throws in random people who are contacts or friends with people you’re already connected to. It’s a vast web of names to pick and choose from – you can hit “Connect” or “Add as Friend” at any time. The fact of the matter is, it also throws in faces and names you’d rather not connect to or befriend. People you’ve cut out of your life – or who have cut you out of theirs. Coming upon one of these reminders is a painful moment, a bit like stabbing yourself in the retina with a toothpick.
I decided, rather than put up with names I don’t care to see, I’d click the giant “X” conveniently located beside their stupid listings. Yeah, that’s about as helpful as strapping on water wings when you’re going over the falls at Niagara. Give it up. LinkedIn must view the “X” as a sort of game of recommendations. The more you click it, the more that phantom contact will pop up in your stream. Ew. Go away! It makes me have a sort of tic, where I go from “Aww” to “That Fucker!” within a millisecond. That’s not beneficial for anyone – least of all, people sitting in the same room as me when I blurt it out.
I went several months without clicking the People You May Know link – thinking this would be healthy and, by then, all my new contacts would have brought along a larger web of names so that the old ones would have been wiped away. No. This isn’t the case. They’re just all resting comfortably together. A mish mosh of faces and names.
Today I clicked it again. There wasn’t that heart-stopping moment. I sort of scrolled along with my eyes squinted half-shut, expecting it. And I was right. Oh, hi. There you are… Let me “X” you out. Again.
It’s funny. The first time I hit “X” I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the option to ever see that name again. It was a letting go moment. I struggle with those! Yet I did it. It was a monumental decision on my part to click that blue “X”. My other friends all hailed it as a wise and healing move. Now? I hit that stupid “X” with abandon. “Hi. BYE! See you the next time I click on this!” Wouldn’t it be brilliant if every relationship that wasn’t working out in life could be removed by freely clicking an “X”? Imagine if everyone had a giant blue “X” on their forehead. It sure would make family reunions or discourse around a conference room table that much more interesting – nothing but a sea of hands, reaching over and slapping foreheads like they’re buzzers on Family Feud.
Alas, life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you’ve just got to share the same space – even if now the only space you share is a listing on a website.