Hey LinkedIn, leave the kids alone

The recent controversial announcement that will see kids of 13 being allowed onto LinkedIn is getting a lot of airplay. LinkedIn claim the reason is to allow (only just) teenagers to ability to choose their University – except that Universities don’t play a major part on LinkedIn. And, the 200m+ serious business types are surely going to object to the invasion by children.

We really shouldn’t make kids grow up any earlier than we do now and by forcing them onto the career ladder 5 years before they turn of age sounds like a recipe for mayhem, ruined job prospects and ever-more prying. It’s good that we gradually expose our kids to the working environment, once a year is a good idea, as is some work placements. But, signing them up en-mass to a established business network is quite terrifying.

Frequently, the measure of popularity on social networks is measured by the number of connections. In LinkedIn speak, you become super-connected at 500 connections – in the Facebook world it’s commonplace for teenagers to have 1500+ connections. How will the business world really be able to measure the value of the size and reach of networks in the future?

The personal brand approach of LinkedIn is going to jar with the normal phases teenagers go through, with exactly the same challenges that big-brands face when they get their brand and/or message wrong. How is the average 15-year old going to cope with that?

“Hey LinkedIn….. leave the kids alone”.

By Penny Driscoll