PLEASE Stop Using LinkedIn For Dating!

According to Business Insider, LinkedIn is now a dating app, but....SHOULD it be???


Courtney: Hello everyone and welcome back. My name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce, and together we are The Ace Couple. And it has been a good minute since last time we discussed a new fangled dating trend, so it is high time and we are coming at you with the hottest new dating site, LinkedIn. What do we think? Do we hate it or do we loathe it?

Royce: So I intentionally didn’t look anything up about this, because when you told me this was a thing I got kind of confused. I guess, my first question is, what is the age range dating on LinkedIn?

Courtney: Pft– Heck if I know.

Royce: It just seems like such an old site that already doesn’t have a very good reputation for younger people to go to.

Courtney: See, this is where it’s going to be interesting, because you and I have vastly different experiences on LinkedIn. Because when I hear people are using the site for dating, I have a very clear picture of the kind of person that I think is doing this, and I think I know a lot more of this kind of person than you do.

Royce: Okay, and I guess that is one thing– I don’t remember the last time I logged into LinkedIn. [Courtney laughs] I don’t go on there very often, it’s kind of like– Well, I don’t social media a lot, very often. It feels weird to call LinkedIn a social media site. But LinkedIn has changed over the years.

Courtney: It has Facebook-ified.

Royce: Yes.

Courtney: And I don’t know how much you’ve been familiar with that. Because I also, admittedly, have not logged in to LinkedIn in a very long time. Occasionally I will actually get an email that someone wants to connect with me, and occasionally it’s someone I actually know and like, and I might log in and click accept. And then I’ll log back out and never do anything about it again.

Royce: I have been on LinkedIn recently enough, just to check messages or something, to see people now writing LinkedIn-specific content, like blogs and things like that.

Courtney: Yep.

Royce: That are business or company focused in some way.

Courtney: Yep, that absolutely happens. So this article by Business Insider, written by Kelli Korducki, starts by sharing a story by Samuela John, who says that, although she never set out to use LinkedIn for dating, people nonetheless came to her and that three separate men ended up approaching her via DM. And this quote, like [sighs] I hate it so much, “They would disguise it, like, ’I have this company and I’m looking for someone to fill this position,’” And this quote by John is a 24-year-old personal organizer in New York City. That’s after the cutoff for Millennial. That’s Gen Z. Is this the new Gen Z dating trend? What’s the last Gen Z dating trend we talked about? [laughs]

Royce: Did we have something after hardballing?

Courtney: Oh, I don’t know. We’re not going to turn into a Gen Z dating trend commentary podcast, because I also just don’t believe that this is just Gen Z doing this either. This– [sighs] This business networking thing. And this is why this quote bothered me so much, because it’s like a bait and switch of, “Oh, I’m talking about a business opportunity, but I’m actually trying to date you.” Like yeah, that absolutely happens. But just that behavior and that mentality is so common in just general business networking circles and I hate it so much. Oh, I hate it so much! Because, like– Well, first let’s talk about where we’re coming from when we talk about, like, business networking. Because you and I have very different experiences with this.

Royce: Meaning that you have done business networking and I haven’t?

Courtney: Well, I have done business networking as an entrepreneur and as a business owner. So I have gone to general entrepreneurial networking gatherings. But, like, you haven’t really needed to intentionally network, but you’ve developed a good enough reputation in your field of work that you do get approached for other job offers. But that’s all been more organic connections.

Royce: Yeah, I mean I’ve worked at a company in the area that was well known and large enough that I made a number of connections that led to other connections just by, one, being good at the job that I do and being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the right people.

Courtney: And so, like– I guess, because you occasionally do get either former coworkers or people from former companies reaching out to you about business opportunities, do they use LinkedIn to contact you or do they just email you directly?

Royce: Completely dependent on the person. I do get LinkedIn messages. I think that was generally the– Actually, I think that leaving the last two jobs I had before this, Linkedin would usually be where the messages come from, and I don’t know if that is a– that was their only contact point for me or if that was just seen as like the most appropriate place to send that message. Because that’s one thing, and I was about to say that this industry is pretty good at this, but a lot of people are not good at this. But a certain amount of working on computers all the time, you have to intentionally separate things. You don’t want to do work stuff on your personal accounts. You don’t want your personal stuff to bleed into work accounts that may or may not be tracked. And intentionally using the correct method of communication for the purpose is something that I think a lot of people at least try to keep in mind. And so I would get messages through LinkedIn from past co-workers and, depending on the person, that might change to personal email, text, whatever, over time.

Courtney: Do you get– Well, the more I think about it, the more accurate it is to say that LinkedIn has been Facebook-ified. [chuckles] I said that flippantly, but now that’s actually what happened. Because do you also get the barrage of people sending you, “Happy work anniversary!” or–?

Royce: Not very frequently anymore. I feel like I’ve– not work anniversaries, I’ve occasionally gotten birthday emails–

Courtney: Birthdays yeah.

Royce: Or birthday messages. Aside from that, it’s usually– My LinkedIn activity is past co-workers reaching out if they’ve found themselves at a new place or something like that, or random spammy recruiters just kind of going through LinkedIn searching for job descriptions.

Courtney: Yeah, yes. It’s very spammy. Sometimes it’s spammy recruiters. And I imagine that might even be worse for you because you’re in a field that I feel like recruiters would be intentionally spamming. Me, I just get random off the wall nonsense sometimes. People will be like, “We have a manufacturing job in your area we’re looking to fill.” It’s like, what about my LinkedIn saying I have been a business owner of my own company for the last eight years or so, making artwork out of human hair and teaching history, has led you to think that I want a manufacturing job?

Courtney: But even the people are spammy, on there. And some of that is a holdover from my actual, like, business networking days. And that’s– that’s what really bothers me, because– Well, I guess I’ll tell this story. Even before I started my business, Never Forgotten, I had an insurance agency and it was miserable. And insurance is a racket. And I’m not proud of those days. But in the early days when you, you know, you open a fresh office, you don’t have your own, like, book of business, you’re trying to build clientele... One of the things I was trying to do was network with people who work in different fields that are also related to major life changes, related to reasons why someone would need to buy a new insurance policy, or might be looking for new quotes. So I did actually use LinkedIn to try to network with people intentionally. But it was all specifically like, “Hey, if we like each other and if we trust each other, let’s, you know, refer clients back to one another,” kind of a mutual relationship there.

Courtney: And some of the folks I was looking for were like real estate agents, like, someone buying their very first home, someone who hasn’t purchased like homeowners insurance before. It’s like, all right, you work with people buying their first home, let’s talk. Do you have an insurance agent that you refer people to? No, all right, let’s go get coffee. Let’s see if we like each other, let’s see if we can work together, kind of a thing. And there was one instance where I did find a guy who was a realtor who said that he specialized in, like, first home buying experiences. So I messaged him, we talked, we ended up going out for coffee to have this meeting and I brought, like– Do you remember the serious briefcase, Royce?

Royce: Yeah, it’s upstairs.

Courtney: [laughs] I had this, like, briefcase that it was on wheels, because I am disabled and carrying things that are too bulky or heavy might dislocate my elbows or hurt my back. So it was, you know, it was on wheels, but it was– it was very professional looking. And when I brought it into, like, my first insurance job, someone was like, [intensely] “That is a serious briefcase!” And so ever since, we’ve just called it the serious briefcase. But I brought the serious briefcase with me because I had, like, folders with information about my agency, information about me, like services, and like basic policy information, and some like business cards, and shit. That, like, if we have this meeting and we do think that we can work together, I was, like, gonna leave some stuff with him. And so I had all this. And he did end up taking it. But I just remember him acting very, like, shy and kind of confused during this meeting. And like I– He agreed to work with me and I gave him these folders with this information, and I was, like, feeling very encouraged about it. And like, later on he sent me another message, like a couple days later, where he was like, “Not gonna lie, I’m kind of confused because I thought we were on a date.” And I was like, [puzzled] “What about my message to you saying ‘can we refer clients to one another?’ – you sell homes, I sell homeowners insurance – maybe we can work together. Let’s have a meeting to discuss this. When are you available for coffee?’ What about this made you think I am trying to date you right now?”

Courtney: So this was like a decade ago. So, as with anything that’s coming out, that’s like, oh, this is a new trend, like I’m sure it wasn’t new, but like I was so flabbergasted. That– I was like, “No– What?” Also, I’m married. Like, did you not see the wedding ring on my finger when I showed up? Like it was– Which, I mean, some marriages are open. Some people don’t care if you’re just cheating out in the open anyway. Like– But [sighs] It was– It was very, very weird. So this veiled– Like, reading this line of, “They would disguise it like, ‘I have a company, I’m looking for someone to fill this position,’ but really they were just trying to date me.” It’s like– I don’t want our allegedly professional business spaces to have this double entendre where you’re like– [groans] Oh, I hate– And this is where I also can’t tell, like, is this just me being very asexual or is this just me being very neurodivergent and not understanding. Like, is it because you’re allo or because you’re allistic? I don’t know, but either way [laughs lightly] we are clearly not communicating the same way, and I don’t think I’m the weird one here.

Courtney: Like if someone asked me to a business networking coffee, I am not going to think they have any ulterior motives. Although, as I well learned from these big business networking meetings where we’d all get together, they’d be like 25 plus business owners, or professionals, or you know whoever the hell showed up. Some– I mean a lot of them were in multi level marketing. So business owners…? Don’t know about that.

Courtney: And it was all about, like, coffees. Like we got to get coffee, like, let’s get coffee and see how we can help each other in business. And it’s like– I understood that when I was doing that with people who we could actually have some sort of relationship with. But like, when I teach history and make artwork out of human hair, and like a banker wants to get coffee with me to see how we can help each other’s businesses… it’s like, sir? I get a feeling you’re just trying to sell your services to me. Because what are you going to bring to the table for my business?

Courtney: And very often that was the case. And sometimes there’d be like a clear bait and switch. Where, like, someone would be like, “Let’s go for coffee.” But it was sort of like– It was like a transgression against business professionalism, if you ever, like, turned down coffee with someone. So I went on like so many unnecessary business coffees. And some I would know were unnecessary going into it, just because of the way the person composed themselves, the way they proposed the meeting, what line of work they were in, whether or not I thought they really even understood what I did. Because some people understood and really liked what I did and genuinely wanted to learn more. Others were just like, “You’re weird, but you know a lot of people and you have a good reputation in this community.” So I’d go to, like, meetings where people would be like, “Let’s see how we can help each other out,” and then I’d get a full on business pitch for someone’s, like, pyramid scheme. And I’d be like, you just wasted 30 minutes of my life.

Royce: See, I can’t do that. The commute time alone–

Courtney: Yeah!

Royce: –would make me really irritated about that. Like– I’m– I feel justified in having an email buffer. If you can get through the email buffer, then maybe we’ll talk in person. [laughs lightly]

Courtney: [laughs] Well, and there– there was another added layer to it also. Because, also, like, I was in every regard the weird one in all of these events. Because there were a lot of older people there, there were a lot of white people there, there were a lot of dudes there. And so there had been times where I was the only one in the room who was not a man. There would be times when I was the only one who was disabled, like, walking with a cane, and that was always the worst. Because then the people with their little pyramid schemes about, like, health and wellness and vitamins, and drink this tea and take this supplement and it will cure you of every ailment you’ve ever had, or you know. I was like they’re prey. They would, like, sniff me out. They’d see a young person walking in with a cane, and they’d be like, “You have a health problem, what’s your health problem? I have something for that.” It’s like, oh no. And I could sense it. There’d be, like, a look in their eyes. Like if someone would approach me, I’d be like, “You sell health and wellness products, don’t you? And you’re not a doctor, are you?” And so like there was a certain amount of bullshit that you just had to kind of tolerate being in that space. And I did find some people that I genuinely liked and I did develop some genuine friendships with people there too. So it wasn’t all bad.

Courtney: But I don’t think anyone ever actively tried to date me, but there were definitely some, like, really inappropriate sexist comments, like a lot. So I’m very, very salty anytime people try to intentionally use professional spaces for ulterior motives. But going further down in this article, here’s something else that confuses me, because someone says: “I’m always looking for someone who has a stable career, who is preferably well off. Not to say that I’m looking for sugar daddies, but someone who can take care of themselves.” And so they’re claiming that you’re able to see education and career history and current job, and some people are making the claim that it’s safer than dating sites because people aren’t lying on LinkedIn. And I just–

Royce: Uh?

Courtney: I have news for you. People lie on LinkedIn all the time.

Royce: That’s a big part of a business pitch is over exaggerating what you’re bringing. That’s like Sales 101.

Courtney: Do you know how many CEOs I’ve met who are not CEOs?

Royce: CEOs of a company of one?

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: One thing I was going to mention when we were getting into this, I stopped short of trying to make an early hypothesis of what this was going to be. But there are some dating sites that will have like career field and income as, like, an optional, either private, thing that you can use so that the underlying algorithm can try to match you, or a public thing. And I also think that some people would get into the habit of finding someone on a dating profile site and then cross referencing it with other sites, which may include LinkedIn, to either, one, learn more about them, or fact check their potential bullshit.

Courtney: That is mentioned in these articles I’ve been reading about LinkedIn, where some people have used it as, like, a secondary thing. Like, I’m talking to this person on Tinder, so I’m gonna google them and look at their LinkedIn. And like that makes sense, because LinkedIn is, for a lot of people, one of the first results you’ll find upon googling their name. It comes up pretty easily, sometimes even before a Facebook profile. Not everyone has Facebook profiles anymore, but a lot of people have kept their LinkedIn, even if they’re mostly dormant.

Courtney: But I feel like there are only certain careers where the work history might actually be indicative of something. Like if you need a degree specifically to be in that field and you have been proven to work in that field, like a doctor, like not just anybody can become a doctor. So like if you have a history, like yeah, they’re– they’ve worked at this hospital from this year to this year. Like all right, that’s– that’s pretty verifiable.

Courtney: But so many things might sound really impressive on paper, like, oh, I own an insurance agency or I’m a financial advisor. Like there are people in those fields that do find success and have been in those fields for a long time and can make decent money doing them. But there are also incredibly high turnover rates in a lot of those fields. And someone can get licensed to do it, try it for a couple of months, try the ‘fake it till you make it’ thing where you try to seem like you’re already incredibly successful at this thing you’re doing and then, when they don’t actually make it, they move on to something else. And that’s something that I’ve also seen a lot from my business networking experience.

Courtney: Like you might find someone who says like, “Oh, I’m a very successful financial advisor,” and they will seem like they have the utmost professionalism, they’ll wear a suit to these meetings, they’ll have all the right talking points. And if they don’t have a lot of experience on the job, well, that’s just because they’re young, but they’re really like an up and coming star in the industry. But then they stop coming to the meetings for a few months, maybe a year or two, and the next time they come back and you see them, they’re like, “Oh, I’m a professional body language analyst. I’m an expert in this thing, and I can help advise you if you’re hiring employees.” And it’s like, well, that wasn’t what you were an expert in a few months ago. A few months ago you were an expert in something else.

Courtney: Or my favorite was when people would jump from MLM to MLM. They’d be like, “Oh, I’m very successful at this MLM.” They’ll be convincing everyone they’re making a lot of money doing it and that you too can make a lot of money doing it. And then a few months later they’re saying exactly the same thing for a completely different MLM company. It’s like– I don’t know how they don’t think we don’t see them. I really don’t. But at least like– I guess just verifying makes a little more sense. I know a lot of people google the people they’re talking to, especially if you met them online. But I can’t get past going on to LinkedIn to DM people looking to date. But I mean, according to this article, LinkedIn specifically prohibits using the platform for romantic advances, like–

Royce: That makes sense for LinkedIn.

Courtney: Yes! It makes sense for LinkedIn, because– And here’s the thing that sort of always bothered me about– And I’m equating some of my in-person networking community experiences with LinkedIn, because LinkedIn is essentially the virtual version of that. But like it’s supposed to be a professional setting, it’s supposed to be about business, and yet we don’t have, like, a Human Resources department for all the entrepreneurs who get together to talk business with one another. Because we don’t work at the same company, we aren’t the same shared office. We’re trying to emulate the, like, water cooler thing and have colleagues and have, like– We don’t necessarily have co-workers. We might have employees or colleagues, but we’re trying to get some sort of camaraderie. Or we’re trying to establish these mutually beneficial working relationships. Or we’re trying to seek advice or give guidance and help each other out. At least on paper. But then someone comes and makes, like, a wildly inappropriate comment to me, or like comments on my body, or says or does something horribly ableist – which happened all the time – there’s no recourse. There’s nothing to do about that. And in fact there have even been some times where I thought something was egregious enough, where I was like, this person does need to be talked to by, like, the organizers of this event or else they shouldn’t be allowed at this event anymore. And nothing ever happened in those situations. Literally nothing ever happened.

Courtney: Kansas City is actually a big entrepreneurial hub. We have a huge conference for, like, Global Entrepreneurship Week. We’ve got so many different smaller pocket networking meetings that happen any given day. If you say, “I want to go to a business networking meeting,” you can find several of them. But I went to one of these business conferences to attend talks and panels and learn things and network, and I met someone who I thought was interesting. I thought he was cool. I thought his line of work was fascinating, and I thought we were starting to develop a friendship. But turns out, photos that the two of us took together, he ended up using later to post all over social media – where we share a lot of the same networks – saying that I was his girlfriend and making, like, a vaguely weird racist joke about finding a purple girlfriend. And it was very inappropriate. And I just happened upon this guy sharing photos of me across several social media platforms. And it’s like, we met at a business conference, here locally, where I live and where I work and where I network with people. And I was like, well, surely the organizers of the event will talk to him about this, because that is not okay, this is not professional behavior. But no, nothing happened. They’re like, “Oh yeah, I mean, if he tries to come to the event again, like, there’s nothing we can do about that.” It’s like, all right, cool, cool, cool, cool.

Courtney: Or there was a time at another business networking event where someone sat next to me and just started giving me very detailed stories about his sex life. And it was also a very sexist story. He was, like, really angry that this woman he went to go meet long distance wasn’t on birth control. And he was so angry that he had to go buy a condom. Because why wouldn’t she be on birth control if she knew he was coming? And I was like, I’m literally here for business. And even if I wasn’t, I don’t want this story. This is a creepy story. You just came with this out of the gate. Clearly you’ve got a chip on your shoulder about something. I don’t– Like, maybe do therapy about it? Do you have– do you have any friends? Like this is not appropriate. And I tried talking to the organizers of that event too and they were like, “Yeah, well.” So maybe I’m especially sensitive to this, like, mixing personal life with business. It’s not even mixing personal life with business, because it’s like you’re actively seeking something in a place where people did not agree to this dynamic.

Royce: Yeah, there are expected boundaries. I was about to say unwritten and it- that’s kind of true when you are outside of a singular company. If this was a large enough company that you had like a company conference where people from offices all over the world came to talk about the future of this, you know, 10 to 100 thousand person company, this would be an HR violation, and that would be on paper. It would be written.

Courtney: Yes. And so like, this is fascinating too, because if LinkedIn is saying that the community policies specifically prohibit romantic advances, then people are still doing it anyway. That should be a bannable offense. They should remove that person’s page, because that’s not what we’re here for. That’s against our community guidelines. And so they talked to a professor of sociology named Dustin Kidd, who’s equating this to early examples of people using non-dating apps for dating, like MySpace and Friendster. And I don’t know, is that not the same thing? I feel like it shouldn’t be the same thing.

Royce: Yeah, that’s different. Like those sites are still for personal connections. They’re not business-oriented.

Courtney: Right. But yeah, this quote from him says, “The design of LinkedIn helps to maintain its focus on the professional, but any platform with direct messaging option is likely to also be used to pursue sex and dating.” I don’t know what to say. I hate it. I hate it so much.

Royce: Yeah, it’s not unexpected, it is inappropriate. I mean, by the same token, you could say that any sort of situation where groups of people are going to be talking has the chance for some of those people to engage in personal relationships. And, like, the office fling is not a new concept.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: It is explicitly written against in many corporate policies.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: To the point where, like, if you are dating or if you start dating, you can’t be in, like, a managerial chain where one is above another.

Courtney: Right.

Royce: Like these things have explicit rules around them in this environment.

Courtney: Yeah. And like, some of that too, I even personally tend to think of it differently. Because if you have a co-worker that you talk to every single day and you develop an actual connection with them, I also see that so much more differently than going and actively trying to seek someone that you don’t know for dating. Like that also feels different to me. But yeah, this line here says, “Any type of social media where you can see people’s pictures can turn into a dating app, and LinkedIn is even better because it’s not just showing people’s fake lives.” I call bullshit on that.

Royce: Part of what they’re getting at is that, because recruiters will look at your LinkedIn, because companies that you are currently looking at are looking at your LinkedIn, they have a higher level– they at least have a perceived higher level of scrutiny on them.

Courtney: Yeah.

Royce: Where if you make up too many things on your LinkedIn, you could get in trouble for that. Like if you say you’re an executive at the company you work at when you’re really a bottom line employee, and someone in HR sees that, that could be bad. But you can lie on your dating profile all you want and it’s gonna be harder for anything to happen to you there.

Courtney: Right. And again, if you work at a company that is a google-able company, that is harder to lie about because you will have coworkers who might see, or you might have employers or HR reps that would see that. But I just know so many self-employed people, and I have known so many self-employed people that, like, you can call yourself whatever you want, you can say you have a company, whether or not it’s profitable, whether or not you’re actually actively working on it. Like there is a lot of artificial inflation of success in those spaces. And even if you have reached a level of success, the now Facebook-ification of LinkedIn where people are writing blogs, they’re making posts, they’re linking to external articles, like, people try to not only be good at what they’re doing, they try to become thought leaders in their field. And there is a distinct strategy about this.

Courtney: I have been to business conferences where there will be presentations called, like, “How to become a thought leader by strategically utilizing LinkedIn.” Like there are people who put on presentations about this. And some of the grandiose, like, “I am a thought leader, come learn from me,” or, “I’m selling a course,” or, “I’m giving you all the secrets to success here.” Like, I’ve seen people who cross post those exact same posts to Facebook as they do to LinkedIn. And I don’t know, I mean, how many people actually have their entire, complete, like, full work and education history on LinkedIn? Because I know for a fact I don’t. I do not have anywhere near every job I ever had.

Royce: You have an above average– You have a more complicated work history than average.

Courtney: I have a weird work history.

Royce: And you’d also have to say, like, oh, you are holding a job before it was legal to hold jobs.

Courtney: Oops.

Royce: So I think it’s entirely possible for someone who went to college and got started at a big company, or had a short tenure at one company right out of college in a junior position and then went to work somewhere else for a long-time career, they might have three entries on their LinkedIn.

Courtney: Yeah, my LinkedIn, if I was completely honest, would be like– I have been in 40 different career fields. That’s an over exaggeration, but wildly different ones too. Like, I don’t know, I’m all over the place. So I tried to put only, like, what might actually be relevant, but since I’m not actively looking for employment at another company, kind of none of it is relevant. So instead I just don’t use LinkedIn. But I get, you know, spam birthday messages from people I haven’t talked to in five years. And I get happy work anniversary from people I haven’t talked to in five years. And the occasional spam recruiter. That’s– that’s it. And I remember telling someone once that I wanted to delete my LinkedIn because I wasn’t using it and I didn’t need it, and I got like an audible gasp. It was like, “You can’t! You need LinkedIn! People won’t take you seriously as a professional if they can’t find your LinkedIn!”

Courtney: It’s like, okay, why? People aren’t– People aren’t organically finding me on LinkedIn. Because not many people are going to LinkedIn saying like, “Oh, where is the– where is the Victorian hair artist closest to me?” Like people aren’t looking for that. So if people find my LinkedIn, it’s probably because they met me out in the wild, and they can, you know, draw their own conclusions from their own meeting with me or my own reputation within my actual community, and not just my online presence. So I thought that was an interesting reaction. But that– that’s sort of the mindset of these business networking spaces, is that you have to be everywhere, you have to be visible, you have to be searchable. And that’s almost been conflated with professionalism. Like if people can’t find you everywhere, and easily access you, then you’re not the highest level of professional. And I hate it.

Royce: Yeah, that’s just self marketing.

Courtney: It’s just self marketing, yes. Which is something I hate doing. That is why all of our thumbnails on YouTube are so ugly. [laughs] I don’t want new people to find us. So, and this one’s interesting to me too, because this paragraph here says: “LinkedIn’s appeal as a dating site, according to people who use it that way, is the platform’s ability to give back some of that control and boost the caliber of their prospects. Because the professional-networking site asks users to link to their current and former employers’ profile pages, it offers an additional layer of credibility that other social-media platforms lack.” And– Am I losing my mind, or does Facebook also do that for current employers? Like you can link your current employer in writing your profile bio, right? Like, I feel like that’s a thing. I also haven’t logged into Facebook in 87 years, but.

Royce: I think that’s another question of scrutiny. Like, what are the chances that you get caught linking a company you don’t work at on Facebook compared to LinkedIn?

Courtney: I don’t know. Is it more likely that you’d get caught on LinkedIn? Do the companies get a notification when someone links to them and says, “I work for you”? But yeah, and apparently, there’s also an element to this that I find, mmm, let’s just say icky for now. There was a TikToker by the name of Candice Gallagher in which she said, “LinkedIn had A-grade filters for finding A-grade men, namely doctors, lawyers and finance bros.” First of all, don’t look for the finance bros.

Royce: Well, with that list, A-grade meant money.

Courtney: A-grade meant money. And there’s– People are also talking about, like, education level. Like you can vet what level of education someone has, and I don’t like it.

Royce: To go back to what I said earlier, those are things that can be listed and be filterable on some dating sites, but not everyone fills them out, it’s not always public, and it’s – at least – the idea is that there’s a better chance of it being inaccurate on a dating site than on what is supposed to be a professional site. [Courtney agrees] So searching by career, income expectations, education, that’s not new. It’s just that you’re intentionally coming into a place that was not meant for dating and, from what you said, from LinkedIn’s terms of service, is explicitly not allowed. And are trying to use business and recruiting tools for personal means.

Courtney: Yeah. And I mean there is something that’s– You know, there’s always going to be an element of classicism in dating, unfortunately. But, like, there are dating sites for, like – quote – “successful people” that, you know, you pay for and they vet and–

Royce: There are. But those sites are probably either requiring both people to be financially successful, or are intentionally set up as, like, a sugar daddy/sugar baby sort of situation.

Courtney: Yeah. So whatever camp you fall into, there’s already an option out there for you where this is the expectation going in. Which, like I don’t know, maybe this is also just– I have been systematically gate kept out of higher education – and I haven’t shared that full story on the podcast – but, like, I’m doing okay now. I feel like a badass when I can say the first class I attended in a college was when I was teaching. But at the time all of my peers were applying to colleges, and getting in, and graduating, and I literally could not go to college because of systemic issues. It wasn’t a pull up your bootstraps kind of a thing. It wasn’t going to happen.

Courtney: It felt really awful to have everyone just assume you’re going to college, ask what college you’re going to, and then give you, like, a look of pity when you say that you’re not. And like, yeah, there is a certain – at least in today’s day and age – like, an expectation that you will go to college. And if you don’t meet that expectation you haven’t achieved some level of societally perceived success. And at the time that felt really bad. And I love learning, and I would have wanted to go to college if I could have. So that was just an extra sort of sting at the time. So when people are like, “Oh, I’m only looking for educated people. And I’m looking for what degree they have.” It’s like, well, you know, not everyone who is successful – by whatever metric they deem success to be – has these arbitrary collegiate standards. And now, of course, college is so damn expensive that a lot of people who go to college end up getting screwed over in the long term, because they aren’t able to get a job that’s able to reasonably pay back their loans. Let alone the fact that it is a wildly discriminatory institution in every sense of the word.

Courtney: But then, near the end of this article, we finally get to a question of consent, which is what my brain was screaming this entire time. We have some stories here by Charlotte Warren, who is a 30-year-old content creator who has – quote – “Received more than her fair share of advances from unknown men on LinkedIn. Though she said that the men were usually reaching out under some flimsy guise of professional networking or mentorship.” [booing] But then it also notes here that, [reading] “Many of the people using it that way had bare bones profile pages that suggested they weren’t seriously using the platform for work.” So if people are just making half-assed LinkedIn profiles to use it for dating, why not just make a half-assed Tinder profile? Why not just make a half-assed OKCupid profile?

Royce: They already have and they’re not finding anyone.

Courtney: That sounds like a personal problem. Although you do raise an interesting point of, they did try and it didn’t work. Because earlier on in the article, it does start talking about a Pew Research Survey from 2023 of US adults that said nearly a third of respondents had used online dating apps, and that, “More than half of the women who used the apps reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of messages they had received in the past year, while 64% of men said they felt insecure from the lack of messages they had gotten.”

Royce: Yep. So I haven’t checked in on OKCupid in a while, but like way back in the day – I want to say like 10, 15 years ago, like that timeframe – they would occasionally just publish big data studies that they did off of their own analytics on their own site, and the trends were pretty obvious. They would go down to where the messages were going, how receptive different people were to getting or receiving messages. And I mean, if you’ve ever existed on one of these sites, I don’t think the data would be very surprising, but it did put it into numbers what’s going on there.

Courtney: But yeah. I guess I just need people to understand how inappropriate this is. And although they have talked about women who have both received advances and not liked it, and also women who have used it to make advances – so, as with everything, this is not an exclusively gendered binary – but there was another survey cited from Passport Photo Online. Which– Pfft, that’s a new one to me. But [reading] “Asked more than 1,000 female LinkedIn users in the US about romance on the platform. While the survey wasn’t strictly scientific, an overwhelming 91% reported receiving romantic overtures or otherwise inappropriate messages on the platform. Three quarters said that at one point or another, these unwanted advances drove them to limit their activity on the site.”

Courtney: So how heavily could this actually be impacting women’s ability to network or find other job prospects? Like, we already know that there are income disparities. There are– You know, the gender wage gap. We know there are certain industries that are heavily male dominated. So I quite frankly find it disgusting that this behavior is getting to be such a problem that a ton of women are just like, “Well, fine, I’m not gonna use LinkedIn then.” Not that LinkedIn is the only way to network or find new jobs or achieve success, but it is one of those avenues, and if it’s strictly against LinkedIn’s terms of service, why is it still happening? Why aren’t there sweeping penalties for people who do this, if it’s driving people away?

Courtney: So yeah, I just hate everything about it, every single thing. I’m gonna put a link in the show notes if you’d like to read this article on your own. And don’t use LinkedIn for dating. Don’t even try. Don’t do it. In fact, don’t use LinkedIn at all. Let’s all delete our LinkedIn’s. Can we do that? Can we just all agree to delete all of our LinkedIn’s? How far can we take it? Let’s delete all of our social media accounts. Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be delicious? Seriously, think about it. And that is all we have for today, so we will talk at you all next time! Goodbye.