View profile

It Could Be Anyone 😶

It Could Be Anyone 😶
By Ernie Smith • Issue #83 • View online
Considering the strangeness of the most generic notification I’ve ever received—an anonymous internet businessman who read my LinkedIn profile.
Side note: This little newsletter just hit 300 subscribers! If you enjoy it, the coolest thing you can do is to tell others to check it out.

(Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)
(Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)
I don’t know about you, but I find the mechanics of LinkedIn fascinating. I’ve been posting there a bit more lately, in part because I’m a professional writer who also has a full-time job at a marketing agency, so therefore, I must keep up appearances.
But at the same time, I occasionally see something on this network that I just can’t get over.
And in this case, the thing I saw was this notification:
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love low-information notifications just as much as the next guy, but considering how big the internet industry is, this could be anyone with their own business. I technically could have triggered this myself by looking at my own profile.
Seriously though, messages like this are intended to convince users to pay money to see the notifications. It’s a dark pattern, and one that LinkedIn exploits in ways well beyond most services. The company has been the subject of lawsuits over its practices, and it lost some of those lawsuits, badly.
LinkedIn, bought by Microsoft in one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the tech industry, defends its practices as “responsible design,” but is it responsible to constantly tantalizingly hint that important people are looking at your profile, the one click between you and the career of your dreams? I say no.
Now, I have to be clear, there are still some professional use cases that come in handy for me with LinkedIn. In particular, I often use it to reach sources or share content. But I kinda wish that I was doing it without the benefit of feeling like some network was looking over my shoulder, tapping said shoulder with information that I can’t even properly do anything with.
I realize LinkedIn is a business (one that was purchased for a lot of money!) and the business they’re in is selling my data by leveraging the fact that their platform is the modern résumé. But I kind of hope that, as they divide my attention for numerous other reasons, they consider that maybe—just maybe—their early-gen growth hacking tricks can take a breather, because they worked and we’re already here.
Related Reads:
Resume History: A Sudden Rise to Modern Irrelevance
Infomercial Dark Patterns: How the App Store Recreates TV Scams
Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: 10 minutes, 23 seconds
If you like this, be sure to check out more of my writing at Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.
Do you own a newsletter? Want to try your hand at writing an entire article in 30 minutes or less? If so, let’s do a swap—reply to this email to see about setting something up.
Dig this issue? Let me know! (And make sure you tell others about MidRange!)
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ernie Smith

Not quite short form, not quite tedious. A less ambitious newsletter by Ernie Smith.

Not ten short items. Not one long item. One mid-range item.

Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). With a time limit. ⏲

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue