Over the last months I’ve been receiving invites to join LinkedIn from people I know. It’s certainly a useful professional social network for finding a job. People have told me I should use it too so I can find a job more easily. They’re probably right and for practical reasons I would certainly use it, but for principal reasons I refuse. My reasons are similar to those for not using Facebook.
What if Google decided that you can only send e-mails to other users of GMail and not to users of other e-mail providers? There would be outrage over Google’s anti-competitive move and GMail users would switch to other e-mail providers. Yet this is exactly what LinkedIn is doing: it’s impossible to communicate with users of other professional social networks, such as XING and Viadeo.The key difference between GMail and LinkedIn is that LinkedIn has a very dominant position in the Netherlands, almost 3,8 million members as of November 2012. That’s probably why we tolerate this “lock-in” from LinkedIn.
I don’t like monopolies, dominant market positions or anti-competitive practices. If I would create a LinkedIn account myself I would reward LinkedIn for its behavior and strengthen its dominance on the Dutch market. I’m desperately looking for job, but not desperate enough yet to part from my principles. LinkedIn and its competitors should meet and devise an open standard so I can communicate with users of competing social networks. until then, I want none of it.