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August 10, 2011

Things You Can’t Talk About At Making Light
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:07 PM * 47 comments

The mysteries of the Gnomes explained.

One of the keywords that puts a post into automatic moderation here at Making Light is “linkedin.” Why? Because we’ve had so much spam from folks trying to drive traffic to their Linkedin profiles that we had to do it.

It will therefore be very difficult to discuss this next bit: Linkedin has added a new feature, turned on by default, that allows them to use your name and picture to advertise goods and services to third parties.

Check out the new email defaults too, where “Yes, share my data with third party applications” is turned on by default.

Workshop instructions for turning all this off are here.

Comments on Things You Can't Talk About At Making Light:
#1 ::: Ms. Jen ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Thanks Jim, for the heads up on this.

I am beginning to have social media monetization tactics fatigue.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:09 PM:

I am glad I've never felt the need to join any of the 'social media'. They seem to be a bit too social (like the people who hold loud conversations in fairly public locations and think no one else hears them).

#3 ::: adelheid_p ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:10 PM:

Thanks for this tip about the site that cannot be named in comments.

#4 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:13 PM:

L!nk3d!n (let's see if that gets past the Gnomes) is also horrible about scraping your e-mail address book and spamming everyone in it, whether you give it permission to or not. And it's nearly impossible to get them to put you on a "Do Not Spam" list, or whatever the equivalent would be. We had to threaten them with CAN-SPAM to make them (mostly) stop, and then they got all snotty about it -- said that if they once put us on their banned list, we'd have to BEG to be taken off it. Fine by me.

#5 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:15 PM:

And yes, apparently l33t-ing the name does work.

#6 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:28 PM:

I have a Facebook page that is a way of keeping track of my family and a placeholder for my own name.

I attempted to use that alleged job-networking site when I was job hunting for the ~two years between Dec. '07 and Feb. '10. I've tried to back out of it but can't seem to escape it's grip. What really, really cheesed me off is it went to my Facebook (as far as I can tell, because I have a couple of people as friends there that I'd never, EVER do that kind of thing) and invite them to be my job networking site contacts. GRRRRRRRRR.

#7 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Thanks for the warning. I now no longer have a yvaxrqva (rot-13) account.

#8 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 12:08 AM:

Oh, it should be easy to discuss that site. Just refer to it as "FinkedIn".

#9 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Why would anyone want to drive traffic to their Inked-In profiles?

#10 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Finkedin is, indeed, weasling about in the manner that seems to be the norm for social networking sites. Despite that, I find it very helpful in a variety of way. It's commonly used by people in software jobs, at least in my part of the country, which means it's got useful info. I don't link to people that I don't know, and don't see any value in that.

How I use it:
- I like having a way to stay in touch with people that I've worked with, without it being in something like Facebook. For example, I've worked happily with people who have very different political views than I. I couldn't be linked to them in something like Facebook without causing a rift by my (or their) comments about political events. I recently needed to buy office furniture at work, and had no idea who the good local vendors were. Through Finkedin, I was able to get in touch with two knowledgeable people who gave me specific recommendations here in town.

- When I'm looking for a job, by changing my status I can tell my professional colleagues that I'm looking (those that have signed up for weekly updates, that is).

- Adding an update will also go out in the weekly update email. That's how I told everyone I was linked to on the site about opting out of the ad thing.

- I research a company where I'm thinking of applying, to see if I know anyone there, or if anyone I know used to work there. I've gotten some very helpful information that way (an "omigod don't apply there!" comes to mind).

- When I have an interview scheduled, I look up the interviewers to get an idea of their background, to be prepared for what they're likely to be asking about. I don't suppose that really helps in a material way, but simply having some information in advance about the strangers that you'll be meeting makes an interview less stressful.

- When I'm in hiring mode, if I like a candidate's resume, I'll look up their profile for more info.

#11 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 03:03 AM:

Everybody seems to be pulling tricks like this. That is, they introduce some new feature, don't announce it, and default the settings to the least secure/private possible.

Were they based in Europe, they'd come under the laws enacted to apply European directives on privacy, such as the UK's Data Protection Act.

It's being seriously suggested that outfits such as Google, with their world-wide business, would come under these Europe-wide laws. Which would mean that they would have to tell their customers what they plan to do, and default settings would have to be rather more secure than they are.

Yes, it's a can of worms.

Giant Economy Size.

I expect it will keep the lawyers busy.

(Yes, I know lawyers can be useful. So can bovine excrement, in the right place.)

#12 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 06:14 AM:

I'm ambivalent... I don't use LI often, but it did get me a project at work which is turning out more important than we had thought initially. On the other hand, I don't really use it very often, mostly just a quick browse of the weekly emails from a few groups in my field to see if there are any interesting discussions (usually not).

I did uncheck that box though. That's pretty rude. I doubt they've used me in any ads, given that I post so rarely and don't have a photo uploaded, but still.

#13 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 07:04 AM:

Being of a natural curious bent (ObOo-er Missus!), I went to Lnkdn's site and clicked on What is Lnkdn? It did not tell me what Lnkdn is, which I found mildly irritating. (I gather it's a site linking ☔professional people.)

☔ I'm now an amateur person. I don't person for money.

#14 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 08:03 AM:

Lee #4: L!nk3d!n (let's see if that gets past the Gnomes) is also horrible about scraping your e-mail address book and spamming everyone in it, whether you give it permission to or not.

Yep, I've gotten that spam on behalf of people who damn well know better than to "invite me into their networks". Notably, my life-coach cousin, and a prominent lawyer-blogger whom I've sent a couple of links to. Need I say that I'm not involved with either profession?

Worse: If you don't accept, they'll just keep sending "reminders". Of course, there's no way to reject the invitation, much less a stop-bothering-me link. They do promise "You can leave <foobar>'s network at any time, but I assume you have to do that from within FinkedIn.

Having been reminded by this post, I've just set up a Thunderbird filter rule. Any post whose "From" line contains "FinkedIn Invitations" now goes straight to the junk folder (and tagged as junk -- that's just an extra "action" for the rule).

#15 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 08:34 AM:

I've been invited to join FinkedIn on several occasions. I finally decided to do so because I was trying to get the e-mail address of a particular person and FinkedIn promised to give it to me if I joined - free. So I joined, only to discover that no, I could only get the e-mail address if I paid to go up to the next level of FinkedIn member. I promptly tried to unjoin. Having unjoined on their website, I immediately started getting e-mails about what else I could do now I was a member of FinkedIn. It took me several e-mails (to a person who I have to say was polite and ultimately helpful) to get them to stop sending me e-mails. I also categorically stated that they did not have my permission to keep/use any of the details that I had given them when joining. I don't appear to come up on FinkedIn when I Google my name, so that's good.

#16 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 09:19 AM:

I'll join the chorus of "thanks for the tips". YvaxrqVa seems to be used pretty heavily around here for developers (and those who'd hire them or nominate them for positions) as well, so I do use it, but I don't particularly want it to become Facebook Business, at least not so far as my information is concerned.

#17 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 09:42 AM:

Looks like Finkedin is on the downside of utility, what with the spamslamming and whatnot. I have met a couple of useful/interesting people on there through the Green groups, but it's getting irritating fast. ("Green" gets like 100 new threads started a day, vast majority spam.)

#18 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 10:33 AM:

The gnomes over here seem relatively sensible--on at least one site I comment on, the word "socialism" gets banned, apparently because it contains a certain hidden word: soCIALISm.

#19 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Finkedin has groups you can join, where people post links to articles or questions to start discussions. Maybe some of them are valuable, somewhere, but the software development ones that I've tried have been worthless. I haven't seen any trolling/nasty posts, just remarkably clueless people saying vapid things.

#20 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 10:50 AM:

This is just to say

I have mentioned
on the thread
anent gnomes

I will be banished
as a
comment spammer

Forgive me
I could not resist
the sweet
sweet spam

#21 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 11:28 AM:

I changed my settings.

Dammit, I love the Internet in all its myriad ways, but sometimes it's like a non-housebroken puppy who pees over everything and what it doesn't soak with urine it chews on.

#22 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 11:28 AM:

rea @ 18: The problem with programming computers is that they do what you say even if you don't say what you mean. In this case the regex is matching on that prohibited word when it needs to match on that word and either a space before or after it or some form of punctuation after it.

I'm reminded of Neil Gaiman's story about the clumsy Americanization of one of his books, where an editor had done a global search and replace which left some of his characters saying things apartmently.

#23 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Oh, ick.

Thanks for the warning.

#24 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Thank you for the notification, duly updated.

LNKD had its IPO in May. Frankly I'm surprised it took this long before they started trying to monetize us. They have zero projected profits for 2011, together with a current market capitalization of $8.3 billion. Not all of those shares can be sold to a Greater Fool, so LNKD is scrabbling for anything that reeks even faintly of revenue..
"How do we do it ? Volume !"

#25 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 12:07 PM:

I'm with Janet: they're quite useful in my field (and thanks for the reminder to look up people one might interview with ;), but in order to keep it that way, I only link with people I actually know. I went and changed my settings yesterday when I first read about this particular stunt.

#26 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 12:56 PM:

I keep hoping that YvaxrqVa will be useful for something someday. Meanwhile there's the challenge of trying to turn off the annoying "Congratulations!" email it sends whenever I accept a connection request. Can it be done?

#27 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 01:17 PM:

Great. I just joined LI because I hope to be graduating and looking for a job soon, and it seemed like a good place to start doing my professional networking. I actually have reconnected with a couple of former colleagues who I really want to talk to about their jobs, so I was excited about that. And now, great, more Facebook-style privacy invasion. Brilliant.

#28 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Changed my settings today. I haven't found it nearly as useful for my needs as, but I do kind of like being able to give and receive mini-recommendations.

#29 ::: Gavin ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 02:38 PM:

I've been meaning to remove myself from LI, which has not proved to be useful for me, but of course, they don't make it easy. I wonder how many of their members are just hanging on in that vestigial way.

#30 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 03:06 PM:

I've been on YvaxrqVa for at least 6 years, and I find it very useful, for all the reasons other people have mentioned. Over those years, I seem to have managed to get my email preferences set about right. Some of the groups I belong to have interesting discussions, some are just full of spam, and I've adjusted preferences accordingly. I hadn't heard about the "3rd party advertising" setting before this, though when I mentioned it to my boss, he said he found out about it in a weekly news summary email he got from the culprits themselves; one of their "top news stories in your industry" was a negative one about them!

#31 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Allow me to recommend L.A. Times's cookbook for turning off some of the objectionable features of L!nk3d!n.

(URL hexified in an attempt to elude moderation queue, but ML's Preview suggests that trick didn't work.)

#32 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 09:53 PM:

A very helpful tip, and a very interesting discussion. I may or may not leave LI. It hasn't been very useful, but - except for this sneaky bit - it hasn't been troublesome, either.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 11:12 PM:

I've seen will abstracts referring to "John Doe December'd". Same problem. They'd maybe have been better off leaving the months abbreviated.

#34 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 12:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ 11 ...
Were they based in Europe, they'd come under the laws enacted to apply European directives on privacy, such as the UK's Data Protection Act.

If they were ... but they aren't, and as pointed out here, Google Admits Handing over European User Data to US Intelligence Agencies :(

#35 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Let me see if this works: LınkedIn

#36 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 12:47 AM:

Thanks for the heads-up. I pretty much abandoned FinkedIn when I retired in 2009, but I was planning to update my profile there to show my new software project, which I hope will become a product someday. So after I opted out of all the nasty sharing defaults just now, I did a partial update of the profile. That site never did help me get a job, and most of the updates on former colleagues and friends are duplicated on other social sites, so it wasn't very helpful to me. Certainly not enough to warrant throwing away privacy because they can't be bothered to do it right.

#37 ::: John Dallman ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 06:09 AM:

The first few times I heard of L!nk3d!n, it was because people who'd joined them were on the same mailing lists as me, so the lists got spammed. I am quite happy to have nothing to do with them.

#38 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 11:41 AM:

I saw the news about that on Mashable and immediately changed my settings as well as a couple more I noticed while I was poking around. I have recently retired from my job at Cisco (part of their current downsizing - 2,100 of us took offered 'enhanced early retirement' package and ran) and Finkedin seems to be the only to stay in contact with many of my former colleagues I want to network with.

Like others above, it's also been a source of good leads on potential work in my rather niche field of Contingent Workforce Management, although, since I'll be moving to L.A. in about a month (my husband just got hired by Dreamworks Animation), all these Silicon Valley contacts probably won't be much help, but the other contacts in my interest groups will. It's one of those things where I'm not happy with how it's set up, but I don't see an alternative.

#39 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Dawno @ 38... my husband just got hired by Dreamworks Animation

Congrats to your hubby!

#40 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 12:01 PM:

Thanks Serge!

#41 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 02:13 PM:

hm, too late.. posting on the Washington Post site, my profile there now has my LNKD photo on it. I wonder what else escaped into the wild..

#42 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 09:02 PM:

Dawno, what I can see from my train of the Dreamworks campus in the Glendale/Burbank area looks interesting. (It's not in my field of work, though. Unless they get a particular kind of plumbing installed, in which case I'll find out soon enough.)

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2011, 09:28 PM:

I find L1nk3d1n moderately useful as a means of keeping in touch with people I need to keep contact with for professional reasons. It's also a source of some spam. On balance, just slightly better than neutral.

#44 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2011, 01:09 PM:

I've been on The Site Which Must Not Be Named since 2007, and I've never heard from anyone that they got an invitation or email from that site "from me" that I didn't choose send. Update emails come at the frequency I specify, and when I get connection invitations from people I don't know, it has always been some individual who is in a group on That Site that I'm in, or who has been participating in a discussion in which I've also been participating.

Clearly, I'm doing something wrong, or I could be having all the fun that all of you are having.

It's been a useful way of staying in touch and keeping up with former coworkers, a useful source of job leads, and it helps put my professional face out there.

If anyone knows of a social media website where you don't need to check your privacy settings regularly, I do wish you'd share that information.

#45 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 10:26 AM:

PJ @ #42 - the campus is absolutely beautiful. My husband forwarded a slide show of pictures one of his soon to be colleagues linked him to and I was totally enchanted. We're looking forward to seeing it live. My husband is excited that it's near the zoo. I'm a bit worried that it's going to be hard to find a nice neighborhood - I used to live down in Redondo Beach and the Glendale area is a complete unknown, but L.A.'s South Bay is too far a commute.

#46 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Dawno @38 - Sorry to hear that you were impacted by the Cisco reorg. FWIW, I had an offer for a contract position with them (filling in for someone going out on maternity leave) that got retracted. Of course, I told all the agencies I was working with that I was no longer available. :-(

On topic, I have found L1nk3d1n useful for keeping track of people I no longer work with but don't want to friend on Facebook. And L1 is not alone in the mad rush to monetize anything possible in social media. A harbinger of another bubble popping?

#47 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 09:11 PM:

There are some very nice neighborhoods in the San Fernando valley, as well as some that are probably better avoided. Most of it has houses built from the mid-1950s to, probably, the mid-1980s. The newer (and much more expensive) developments are on the west and north, going up into the canyons. (I'd avoid that kind of area because of the fire hazards.)

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