Where LinkedIn Accounts Go To Die

LinkedIn-Connect-With-People-For-No-Reason-At-AllThis morning my friend Michelle Golden posted the story about an individual named Heather Bussing that deleted her LinkedIn account because she disagreed with the terms of services. You can see the entire post here: Why I Killed My LinkedIn Account. The author of the post is not happy with the draconian terms of service or maybe just wants to write a shocking post that gets her a lot of attention.

She has some sincere gripes and some imagined, one of them being that on Section 10.2 of the LinkedIn Terms of Service there is a long list of “don’ts” that pretty much prohibit anybody from using LinkedIn in a way that would be productive. Here is where her argument falls apart, though, she doesn’t dislike LinkedIn nor has she had a bad experience on LinkedIn. She simply finds the terms of service unacceptable. Should more lawyers be worried about the terms of service? In my opinion, the answer is no.

When joining any social network you are entering into an agreement. In this agreement you are willing to give up a substantial amount of information to the social network and in exchange you are able to access a treasure trove of information. It doesn’t cost money, but it does require you giving something up. Two weeks ago I wrote about this at greater length on my post What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn survives because of the positive network effects. It isn’t anything that LinkedIn is actively doing, but just that fact that they facilitate everybody sharing information in a way that allows people to communicate better. Will we see more people leaving LinkedIn in the coming months? I’m sure there will be others that trumpet that fact that they are leaving in a melodramatic last and final post, but LinkedIn will continue on for the foreseeable future.

Every month for the last five years there has been an article published entitled, “Is Facebook Dying?” that seems to spell out all the reasons people are leaving Facebook in droves for something new and shiny. But they never pan out, because sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are now so large that a mass exodus from any of the sites is extremely unlikely. If you do decide to take the time to read LinkedIn’s terms of service (because as a lawyer I’m sure you like to do those sorts of things with your free time) and you aren’t happy with what you see. Here are the instructions per Heather Bussing on how to delete you account step-by-step:

Go to your home page.
Find the little picture of you in the upper right-hand corner and move your cursor over it.
A drop-down menu should appear
Click on Privacy and Settings
You may be asked to sign into your account again.
Click the Account side tab near the left bottom corner of the page next to the shield icon
Click Helpful Links
Click Close your account.

I’m sure you will still find success without LinkedIn, but that isn’t the point. LinkedIn doesn’t need you, it can achieve the positive network effects without you because the other 90% of professionals are participating and sharing. Leave LinkedIn, but do it at your own peril. Adrian Dayton is a non-practicing lawyer and as the author of the book LinkedIn & Blog for Lawyers: Building High-Value Relationships in a Digital Age (West 2012, co-authored by Amy Knapp) so he may be a little biased. You can connect with him on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/adriandayton. He hasn’t quit Twitter either, you can find him there @adriandayton. Don’t look for him on Facebook, unless you are his friend “IRL.”

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