It’s been a few weeks since I extracted myself from instagram. Not nearly as difficult as it was removing myself from Facebook last year, though I hardly know why.
I had a moment this weekend. It really hurt my feelings in a way, but it wasn’t a surprise. I was watching a video on youtube, from a few years back, about why we should all remove ourselves from the Facebook ecosystem. At the end of the video, the author said “let me know when the people from your facebook reach out after you leave, I’ll wait.” That really struck a chord with me. When I left facebook, I had hundreds of friends. Extended family members, folks I went to school with, folks from previous jobs, etc. I also had about 8 folks I texted outside of Facebook regularly.
Fast forward through this year. It’s been an unprecidented time of change. People are coming together and desperate for human contact like never before. Many of us are keeping ourselves shut in our houses for months on end. There has never, and will never be a better time for someone to reach out.
And yet, throughout all of that, not one. Not one person reached out from my former Facebook world. I still talk to those 8 people, but now even more so. I replaced hundreds if not thousands of hours of my life browsing facebook with anything else. What kept me on it all these years? Was it the joy I got from reading another inane political rant? No, quite the opposite. It stopped being useful for sharing family updates many years ago. Same with photos, which also begets a Facebook induced privacy nightmare. No, it was fear. I was afraid to leave Facebook, and in some way afraid to face the world where I know I have 8 real friends.
It’s been great though, and I shouldn’t have been afraid. I feel closer to my friends and family than in many years, and I haven’t lost anything.
It struck me though, that there’s a much bigger fear-based target in my digital world: LinkedIn.
Think about it. What has LinkedIn done for you? I can tell you it’s been mostly recruiter emails for me. Do the recommendations you give and receive actually mean the difference between a job and not? I do not believe so. Any recommendation I have received or given, when it comes time for an interview process, those recommendations have been re-requested.
So, except for the everpresent fear of missing out (FOMO), what is the value of LinkedIn. News? I can read the news without creating an account. Without fielding 20 spam messages from recruiters every day. Email? I’ve got great SEO, and my email is very easy to find. Maybe just slightly more friction in finding me wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world? It certainly hasn’t stopped readers of this blog from emailing and building friendships these past 20 years.
So, here’s how I’m going to wean myself off of LinkedIn, and it involves my old friend Jekyll.
Step 1: Identifying what data is useful from Linkedin. I would assume it’s connection data and referrals. The more I think about it though, the less I see the need for the connection data. I can see all of folks public posts from the site if I look for them. It’s not like folks posting jobs are trying to hide them.
Step 2: Exporting my data. Thankfully it’s fairly easy to do here: https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/member-data
Step 3: Displaying the data. I found a jekyll template for a help-desk which has the qualities I like. (searchability, categories, easy to read and display) This one -> https://github.com/gustavoquinalha/jekyll-help-center-theme
Step 4: Formatting the data. I simply added question, ‘, answer and end ‘ separaters into the CSV to generate the jekyll templates.
Step 5: Telling folks that I’ve done this. See this post (meta!) Check out the ‘recommendations’ link at the top of the blog. Head on over to https://github.com/huntergdavis/linked_out and check out the code, or http://www.hunterdavis.com/linked_out/ to actually read the recommendations.
email me about it, firstname.lastname@example.org