Wednesday, February 12, 2014

LinkedIn Is Not "Facebook Plus", Should Not Be Used For Romantic Connections

Dear Tazi:

I am a sophomore in college and am sick and tired of dating immature little boys who think they are men just because their birth certificate says they are. I have asked my older sister if she could set me up with someone more mature, but she tells me that I am too young, and besides she would not feel comfortable setting me up with one of her friends or colleagues (there is a 10 year age difference between us).

I recently received a "connect" request from a friend to join LinkedIn. She is a year older than me and very smart. She will be graduating college a year early because she took early enrollment courses while still in high school and has gone to school summers, which has put her a year ahead in her program. Anyway, she put together a LinkedIn profile because she is looking for work and wanted to have a professional online profile where she can network with people who will make her look good. She asked me to create a page because I am a Dean's List student and she wants to show people that she hangs out with responsible and mature people.

While I was on LinkedIn I noticed a lot of really good looking men who are not much older than me (mid-twenties) and have fantastic jobs! They don't say how much they are earning, but it looks like big bucks from their job descriptions and the pictures of them in suits and ties! In addition to connecting with people I know I have scoped out a few people who work in the field I hope to go into after I graduate - you know, to network with them and to hopefully score a sweet internship or even a paid part-time job. And yes, I have asked several of the cute guys I found to connect with me because I am hoping to meet someone special. Someone mature, who has his life in order and is looking for a good woman for more than a good time.

I am not overly obvious about my intentions, always choosing men who attended the same college as me (so it looks like I am trying to connect with the alumni) or who know someone I know. My problem is that I requested one of my sister's co-workers. He recognized the last name and since my sister and I look a lot alike he figured out the connection and assumed I was looking to connect because I have an interest in their professional field (she is a lawyer, and I am a Political Science major, so duh...I can see why he would think that way. He even commented about it to my sister, and asked if I would be applying for an internship with their firm. While I thought he was expressing interest in me it turns out he is gay and is really just interested in helping me out because he respects my sister's work.

My sister on the other hand figured out what I was doing in about three seconds flat and freaked on me! She is demanding that I pull my LinkedIn profile and stop using it to try and get a date. I don't think I am doing anything wrong, and besides I have a perfectly legit reason for being on LinkedIn - to help my friend boost her image and yes to make business contacts of my own for when I graduate in two years. My sister has threatened to tell our Mom and while I don't know what she would do I know what she could do and that would make my life pretty miserable.

I don't think what I am doing is all that wrong! I haven't hit on anyone (outright) yet and have had no complaints about the comments I have left for people and the emails asking to meet for coffee. What do you think? Am I wrong for lookin gout for my own future?

Future Professional

Dear Future Professional:

Linkedin is not "Facebook Plus", where people are willing to reveal even more personal information about themselves than they would ever dream of revealing on social media. This is why LinkedIn has very strict privacy settings and why many people use them. In many cases, if you do not know someone's email address you cannot even send them a request to connect! This should tell you something: that LinkedIn is not a dating/hookup site! If you are interested in that there are plenty of online personal site for you to peruse.

He's looking to make a professional connection, not a love connection!

For the sake of your (future) professional credibility I suggest you stop pursuing a romance through your professional profile and instead work towards making industry connections, as your friend is doing. Start with making a basic profile and posting classes taken and samples of the work completed in those classes. Note any awards and honors you have received (Dean's List is a big one, so don't sell yourself short!). Keep your profile picture tasteful; use a professional looking head-shot if you have one, not a picture of you in a string bikini. mention your career goals, and try to connect with people who would be willing to help you achieve them (like your sister's coworker). If any of your professors are on LinkedIn, politely request to connect with them so you can keep in touch with them once your class is through; an academic recommendation can go a long way when you lack professional work experience. Finally, remember that on a site like LinkedIn - or any social media - you are not only representing yourself but the people who choose to connect with you. Don't disappoint them by acting like a lovesick child.


P.S. While I can understand your frustration with "immature little boys who think they are men" you need to cut them some slack; they are enjoying their youth. Today's immature college boys are tomorrow's business professionals. Continue to demand respect from them and you will be surprised at how quickly they can man up around you!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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