In its never-ending quest to connect you with other working professionals whom you will never again make contact with, LinkedIn’s product team has released some real head-scratchers in its storied, 14-year history. From the Microsoft-owned company’s recent Facebook-style news feed implementation to the long-standing encouragement that complete and total strangers “connect” as a way to inflate one’s networking skills, LinkedIn has become this kind of bizarro social network that everyone outside of corporate recruiters feels compelled to use as sparingly as humanely possible, or only with complete and unfailing irony. (For fun, take a minute and endorse your friends for skills they don’t have, like Sports Nutrition and Military Weapons Handling.)
LinkedIn’s Tinder-style mentor feature lets you seek advice from a list of faces
That makes the latest addition to LinkedIn’s list of hip, millennial-loving “social” features that have little place on a networking site that much more puzzling. The company announced today that it would be introducing what TechCrunch describes as a “Tinder-style” feature for pairing mentors with those looking for professional advice. LinkedIn reportedly launched the feature originally in beta last month, and it’s since brought the full version of the feature to its main service.
Like Tinder, you can specify that certain criteria requirements must be met before you’re paired with a potential mentor or mentee, including where a person falls in your network (like a first- or second-degree connection, for instance) and other factors to narrow down the list to a potential list of suitable lifehack-loving thinkfluencers. From there, you’re able to pair up and start chatting. You don’t appear to have to swipe on people’s faces, though of course that’s because a swipe mechanic would probably run the risk of making LinkedIn’s feature look more like... well, a dating app. You do, however, cycle through a list of algorithmically generated faces and profiles designed to meet your highly specific needs and diminish the human spirit.
If it sounds like a lot like a toothless attempt at winning over younger users with a design method borrowed from the soulless dating app paradigm of our time, you would be quite correct. Most mentorships in life arise from natural occurrences with bosses or colleagues or people who, over time, organically take on the role of someone who’s looking after your career because they believe in you and think you’re talented. LinkedIn, like a number of other venture-backed “coaching” services that are trying to commodify good advice, wants you to skip right to the awkward and unpleasant moment when you and another person must own up to the shallow, transactional nature of your relationship. And what better way to do so than by initially judging them at a glance based only on what your brain can glean from 10 seconds of looking at their face and highest-listed credential?