Is Your LinkedIn Work Anniversary Becoming the New Facebook Birthday?

By Paul Teshima in Networking

So I recently downloaded the new version of LinkedIn Connected, and love the concept of using it to stay better in touch with my network.

But after using it for a bit, and swiping through 8 work anniversary alerts, I started thinking about whether social networks are helping or hurting the celebration of some of these moments.

Facebook Has Diluted Your Birthday Messages

Think of what has happened with birthdays.  You used to have some friends out for a party, maybe you got some cards.  Cards were great, it took real effort to buy a card, and write something in it.

Facebook came along and started tracking the birthdays of your friends, and it helped you remember them all.  Then Facebook made it simple to drop them a personal birthday message or note on their wall.

But now Facebook birthdays are no longer about the message, because it has become so easy to pass along a “Happy Birthday – have a great day!” message.  I believe it is now about the aggregate – how many likes or comments you get, and from whom, not the sentiment of the messages themselves. They even have a slick new interface that allows you to multi-thread birthday wishes (sorry Andrew, Jen and Lydia – Happy Belated Birthday BTW).  So in this way Facebook has diluted the value of your birthday messages.

LinkedIn Let’s Us Celebrate More Work Milestones, But To What End?

LinkedIn owns the business network, and has an incredible amount of information on people’s work history and profile.  I use LinkedIn every day to understand who someone is, and help me decide if I want to connect with them.

Now that people have thousands of connections, it makes sense that LinkedIn is trying to help users “stay in touch” with their network.  But is someone’s work anniversary really a reason to reach out?

I just came from a short stint at Oracle, and was amazed at how many people had been there 15, 20, 25 years.  Those are milestones that deserve celebration, and specifically high praise from Oracle themselves.

But if I look at Sandy Fernando, does celebrating his 4th year at Indigo by liking or commenting (especially since he no longer works there) help grow that relationship?  Or would it be better for me to wait until his company celebrates a bigger milestone and for me to join in at that time? Or even better, find out Sandy’s real interests and send him content that would really excite him.

I do love whereLinkedIn is going, and know that they are around to stay, but I wonder if trading quantity for quality is going to help users grow more real relationships from their connections.

What do you think?

Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder