LinkedIn.com has confused me ever since my friend (and one-time supervisor) Diane introduced me to it several years ago. I'm not sure what it wants to be. Does it want to be a networking tool for professionals? Does it want to muscle in on the social aspects of Facebook? Who knows? I don't think even LinkedIn is sure. What I do know is: when I asked my 25 year-old son if he has joined LinkedIn, now that he has officially entered the working world with his first real-live, full-time job, he said, "LinkedIn? LinkedIn is for old people." Out of the mouths of babes.
This past Thursday, as it turns out, was deemed "Josh Pincus LinkedIn Day." I had sent a message to one of my "connections" (as LinkedIn likes to have members call other members, much the same way that Disney insists on calling paying customers "guests") hoping to meet him for lunch. Based on his LinkedIn profile, I was under the impression that he worked not too far from where I worked. I found out that he does not, in fact, work near me, but would like to meet for lunch just the same. Thursday afternoon (actually into the evening) was spent in a rabid email frenzy, finally achieving success in our plans around 11 pm.
My Thursday correspondences for luncheon plans were interspersed with a few endorsements from another LinkedIn "connection" (if you were paying attention, you already know what a "connection" is in LinkedIn lingo). In its early days, LinkedIn allowed members to write recommendations for their connections. A member could sing the praises of a current or former business colleague in a few brief sentences. Now, it seems, that writing takes too much thought and time for the typical LinkedIn user. So, LinkedIn has introduced a system of easily clickable recommendations that take the place of that cumbersome, time-sucking, thought-powered writing! Want to tell the world about a connection's skills in... in.... shit! who knows what they are capable of?!? And what difference does it make anyway? Just click on areas of expertise as they pop up (it's sort of like a business shooting gallery!), whether your connection is qualified or not. No prospective employer is reading this crap anyway. My endorsement was in the area of "concept development," and it came from a guy I worked with for about six months at a job I had seven years ago. He was a real nice guy and we even attended the same art school, although I graduated when he was four years old. I sent him an email to express my appreciation for the kind endorsement:
I don't know what the fuck "Concept Development" is, but if you think I'm an expert in it, that's good enough for me.JP
He replied with:
Nice to hear from you too ass hole. Ok maybe concept development was a stretch, but there was no button to endorse you for "crazy off the wall sketchbook art".
I informed him that "asshole" was one word.
The highlight of my LinkedIn interactions came first thing on Thursday morning. I received a message through their system from Joe, an art school classmate of mine. Aside from an informal reunion six years ago, I haven't seen this guy in nearly 30 years. Despite being in a very small class, I wasn't very friendly with this guy. I knew him, but I wouldn't say we were close friends. Joe was an excellent caricature artist whose style was reminiscent of the great Mort Drucker of Mad Magazine fame. However, Joe's typography skills were another story. When I was in art school in the early 1980s (before computers), there was a thing called "prestype." Prestype was a system of lettering used to achieve a professional look in the creation of ad mock-ups (Ask an artist. I'm sure you know one). Prestype came on a translucent plastic sheet and, by means of vigorous rubbing*, the letters were transferred to your piece of art (like those PrestoMagix we had when we were kids... well, if you were a kid in the 70s and 80s). Prestype was an artist's dream, except Joe never had that dream. Everything that he did with type used his own shitty handwriting. He didn't even try to hide it or make it better. He would do a layout for advertising class and merely scrawl the headline across his page in the same black marker with which he sketched the image.
So, at 7 in the morning, Joe sends me this message:
hows bizzz?? hope all is good....if ya need an illustrator, let me know!bestjoe
Bizzz with three "z"s? That was Joe. I replied to Joe, reminding him that I, too, am an illustrator and that we know each other from art school.
I guess my son was right. LinkedIn is for old people. Maybe one day, they'll even figure that out.
*sounds dirty, huh?