TODAY, I did what I have long considered to be the social media equivalent of taking out a mortgage and "getting into" gardening – I signed up to LinkedIn.
For months, I have flatly refused to set up an account, despite friends frequently sounding off on how useful it is. The reason I’ve held off for so long is quite simple: To me, social media is FUN. I use social media to do FUN things – sharing videos, gifs and generally hilarious links, chatting to friends, tweeting whatever happens to be residing at the top of my head at any given moment. Oh yes, and looking at pictures of cats. Lots and lots of cats.
In comparison to the spontaneity and joyfulness of my earlier internet pursuits, LinkedIn is utterly boring. It is an online CV. The minute I signed up, I basically gave anyone in the world the right to have a gawk at my work experience and skills and laugh at my pitiful attempts to make myself look good. It also offers me the chance to “connect” with people, so that I can show everyone I am good at networking and never allow a conversation to derail into me telling yet another “hilarious” story about my cat.
These “connections” – note the use of that word, as it is instrumental in further distancing the site from any sort of fun whatsoever - can then endorse my skills, so that Important People are aware that I am not lying about being awesome at Tuvan throat singing (in which of course I am highly skilled). Does this sound like fun to you? I really hope you just said no.
Nevertheless, I did it. Out of fear. To be precise, it was the fear that one dark, stormy night, an Important Person would be on LinkedIn desperately searching for a young journalist to do an Extremely Important Job, one that could set them up for their journalistic life. “Where are the Arts/Features journalists in DCU?” they would cry. “Preferably the ones that are moderately- to-poorly skilled in Adobe InDesign, who maybe can read a bit of radio news, can wear green vintage playsuits and do a decent smokey eye? THERE ARE NONE HERE.” They would promptly give up and give the job to someone else, someone who couldn’t even write, let alone do a decent smokey eye. Then what would I do? I’d have missed out on something Extremely Important; all because I was too busy acting the maggot on Twitter to get serious about my life.
And there is the root of the problem. Getting serious about my life – do I want to do that yet? Friends, as I have discovered, it is not a case of wanting to get serious about my life. I am 21 years of age, and in my final year of college. It’s either get serious about my life, or wind up as one of those strange man-child creatures that exist solely in Judd Apatow films (Yes, I’m aware that I am female, but I’m not ruling it out.) So, throwing any remains of my childhood to the wind, I set up my very own LinkedIn account. Connect with me! Endorse my skills! It’ll be - who am I kidding? It will be dull.
* Valerie Loftus is a Journalism student at DCU
* If you’re a student who can write concise, topical stories and is deeply engaged in student life, join the Contributors’ Competition and your stories could be published on Ireland’s most popular news website, Independent.ie, this semester.
See www.campus.ie for more details.