How to Close a LinkedIn Account with a “Large Network of Connections”

by

Last week I shut my LinkedIn account down.

My first attempt resulted in a warning web page saying I couldn’t shut it down because I had over 250 contacts. With that hint, I just deleted contacts until I had fewer than 250. Then I could close my account through their web form.

Please Don’t Go!

The first close attempt resulted in an e-mail from LinkedIn to their “customer support” group, cc-ed to me, asking them to close my account because I was unable to, citing the reason:

The member has a large network of connections to close. Please close during non-peak hours.

LinkedIn seems to be suggesting their site is so fragile it can’t be trusted to delete during peak hours.

A week later (as in today), I got the predicted response from “customer support”, namely a plea to stay. Today’s e-mail started with:

I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you.

The apology seems rather disengenuous given the rest of the e-mail, which continued with:

I noticed that you have put a lot of effort into growing your LinkedIn network. Because of this, I wanted to confirm that you want to close an account with such a large number of connections.

Only after this did the e-mail start outlining further steps I’d have to take to close the account I’d already closed last week.

Why did I close my LinkedIn account? On the “con” side, it was a hassle to go through invitations to connect from people I didn’t know or had met once. I felt bad if I said “no” or “yes”. On the “pro” side, I couldn’t come up with anything. It’s not like I’m going to use LinkedIn to find a job.

9 Responses to “How to Close a LinkedIn Account with a “Large Network of Connections””

  1. Gregor Erbach Says:

    have a look at this flowchart ;-)

  2. Ergodic Says:

    “On the “con” side, it was a hassle to go through invitations to connect from people I didn’t know or had met once.”

    Sorry if I sound a bit too dickish but it reminds me of the people that hide behind fake “offline” status at IMs and Skype.

    To me it looks more like a flaw of the individual rather than the program. Overconnectivity is here to stay and I think it makes sense learning to handle it.

    • Bob Carpenter Says:

      I don’t like to be interrupted.

      I only turn on Skype when I’ve pre-arranged a call.

      My wife and I share a cell phone and only use it when one of us is traveling.

      I didn’t mean to imply there’s anything wrong with LinkedIn in particular or social networking in general. I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I just found LinkedIn more of a bother than it was worth. Sort of like owning a boat or a dog.

  3. Steven Groves Says:

    Bob,

    I’m not a Linkedin guru or anything, but I will share an example of how Linkedin connections helped me in the past. To be fair, I am more of an online / offline guy than an offline / offline guy, but nonetheless.

    I had never planned to be an author, but while I was working with Lon Safko and the SocialMediaBible.com, we received a call from a market researcher in Atlanta who wanted us to provide some input on a tactic they were considering. We took the call and talked a bit and afterwards I looked up the caller on Linkedin. Turns out he had already published a book previously on marketing ROI and social media in 2009 was still looking for an ROI. We talked more and agreed to collaborate on a book called ‘ROI of Social Media’ – while not on the best seller list, it is widely read by marketers all around the world.

    Fast forward to late 2010 and another contact referred me to a listing on LinkedIn that led me to a project which covered all my moving expense to Colorado from Arizona, something again I wanted.

    The bottom line is that Linkedin might be about finding a job for some, but for most of us on LinkedIn it is about the contacts and networking for business – not leisure / personal like Facebook. for me it led me to my first internationally published book with a named publisher (John Wiley & Sons) and to a move that I wished for.

    Almost daily I find uses for my professional network in Linkedin that is mutually beneficial to myself and my network.

    Well, that’s my story – yours certainly could be different, but I’ve found online social networks will pay you back what you put in.

    Socially Yours,
    Steven Groves
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/StevenGroves

    • Bob Carpenter Says:

      Thanks for sharing.

      I know it can be useful for the kind of thing you mention. But I’m not looking for any of that.

      I didn’t find it helped our business at all. It could’ve helped me find a non-academic job.

      I don’t find getting academic/technical books published that hard.

  4. Aleks Jakulin (@aleksj) Says:

    I derive three things from LinkedIn: 1) be able to keep in touch with folks as they change jobs and email addresses 2) I get notifications when people change jobs & positions (saving the boring conversations about “what are you doing?”) 3) an occasional introduction

  5. Bob Carpenter Says:

    @Aleks: 1. I’ve never had a problem keeping in touch with people I want to keep in touch with. 2. It was exactly all this notification stuff I was tired of seeing (though Aleks just told me in person you could turn it off, though somehow opting out altogether hasn’t even turned it off; yes I could fiddle with my own mail to do that, but that’s too much like work). 3. Ditto.

    I also don’t have a Myspace or Myspace-clone account. I don’t even have a cell phone other than when I’m traveling. But I really like people in one-on-one or party/conference settings. And I’m pretty responsive to e-mail.

    I just really really hate being interrupted. And I luckily have a personal and work life set up to make it possible (i.e., no kids, long-term project work, no production system maintenance, etc.)

    I do understand this is a matter of preference.

  6. Bob Gardinger Says:

    I work in advertising. Media people are pushing LinkedIn hard these days because of its ability to target. It’s like a flashback to those horrid days of direct mail. Remember the AOL discs?

    Connecting with all the people I’ve worked with was cool at first, but that’s not how it’s used anymore. It’s all about collecting so-called connections. Schlock City.

    I quote 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy: “I tracked him down to an address in Brooklyn. He’s on LinkedIn, Lemon. He might as well be dead.”

    • Bob Carpenter Says:

      I haven’t seen that episode. Alec Baldwin’s deadpan delivery of these kinds of lines always cracks me up.

      I do remember the AOL disks. I was shocked to go into an office at the Med School in the past year at Columbia and find some of their receptionists were still using AOL.

      At least for me, the direct mail’s alive and well. We get all sorts of catalogs and tons of invitations from NY Times, other magazines (New York mag just sends us a free subscription and every month tells us our subscription is going to run out — they must like the Greenwich Village demographic), credit card companies, and just about every traditional store from which we’ve ever made a purchase online.

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