So what is it about LinkedIn?
When I first began my social networking Journey, AOL was where we lived. This was the latest connecting force next to group teleconference calls. And lest we forget how communicating once upon a time meant banging drums or pigeons and of course there were postmen and what we came to know as “snail mail.”

MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Pintrest, Foursquare… And LinkedIn. a social media cocktail that is necessary when selling a global message, product or service. Now maybe not in that order, but we have seen and heard it all. At the end of the day, social media glues together the relationships that we have already created off-line or even those online relationships that we hope to mature. In some cases, it is the be-all-to-end-all in a business, to have your social media networking on point, to connect all the dots. For instance, when you are an actor or an actress you must be set up with IMBb, which is now somewhat the social network and database of Hollywood. SoundCloud on the other hand is your social network of audio clips and interviews and audio productions. Of course Blog Talk Radio also endeavors to be a leading social network of sounds and Internet interviews. Of course you know I am a Spreaker account holder. So then, back to LinkedIn, which came along as one of those platforms where you endorsed folks that you have already done business with. In other words, you are “vouching” for another person and their credibility. And LinkedIn was so much different than all the other social networks since it focused on what we’d like to believe are “credible business connections.” Of course, there are already large brands and small brands that fit right into the LinkedIn prophecy. Just as there are others among us who (rightfully so) deserve a spot on the big off-line playing field. But who is to decide whether someone “deserves” to be on that playing field or not? Who enforces the law of decision and how decision is made and who qualifies in the decision process? How do you substantiate a person who you don’t know and who you have not done business with? Do you go off of what you think you know or what you read in the press or what you heard from someone else? Do you assess all of the above when making a decision to endorse someone? Or have you been so brainwashed by all the other social network processes where you merely put in your “username” and create a “password” and create a “profile” and “upload” photos and finally “find friends?” I see a lot of that usual LinkedIn. Sure, when it comes to doing business this is one of the most credible platforms since this is where business folk have migrated over the past few years. The people that were afraid of MySpace and who side-stepped Facebook use LinkedIn as their excuse to “get involved” or to “network” (as they should). And of course, Linkedin has desperately changed with the times and has stayed above the curve as it relates to serving the same audience. No way in hell that they want to be seen or perceived as another MySpace. But day after day after day I am seeing folks who I know are not credible. I KNOW they faked their way thru life and have set up their “profile” so that they might now “compete” on the global stage. Well, credible & substantial are subjective terms these days, so I’ll inject that at least, and say they’re not credible to me. Not yet, anyway. If we’re talking brick & mortar, the threshold of “credibility” has been set up by local townships and city ordinances who have installed the almighty “business license” that can’t always be enforced, and is more likely your endearment to the “town cause,” more than any government administered “Commandment.” “But,” you say, “Relentless my town IS our local government.” And I’ll answer that by saying, “enforcing a business license may work for shop owners, plumbers, restaurants and anyone who must serve that impulsive buyer who cruises the street, telephone book or the hallway of an office building. However, there is no way to enforce this for the “virtual world” of the Internet, and all the business that the Internet embraces. You can have a bank account anywhere, an address anywhere and a phone number anywhere. So then where’s the beef? Who do you run tell when a foul business practice has transpired online? The answer goes back to credibility and track records and endorsements; all of that adding up to the “substance” of business or initiative. Connecting the online with the offline is where the “win” emerges. But then, we’ve become so “slick” these days and some of us have worked our way around those hurdles. It still comes down to you, the conscious consumer, and the bigger question: “Just how savvy are you? How sharp are you to see through the smoke & mirrors of life…online and off?
And while there are people that I don’t feel are credible, you (the one with less experienced eyes) might feel differently. That same person just might be credible to you. As well as there may be people who are indeed credible to me, but who (on the other hand) are not credible to you. There are so many variations to what does and doesn’t substantiate credibility. OMG how I want every body and every thing and every living organism to be credible and substantial and embedded and vetted and gifted and highly skilled and majorly connected-BIG INHALE HERE- but that is just not the case. And then there are the half steppers! You may have done business with someone, and they may have run into hard times in their own life. And hard times isn’t merely financial; hard times may just mean that “mental vacation” that someone took while doing business with you. So, in theory that person you did business with seemed to be okay at some point in their lives. However, their “vacation” was the screw in the relationship that you began. And maybe you can’t even talk to that person anymore because of how they screwed you over. And that may even be subjective because you don’t have all the facts, you were not in their shoes, and there is just your raw unfounded, one-perspective decision not to do business with them any longer. Not to mention, you yourself may have been the one with the screw loose! But does your getting screwed mean they are not credible? And speaking of getting screwed, are we endorsing people that we once fucked? Or we once kissed? Is that the LinkedIn “threshold” that quantifies and qualifies someone and their skill set and their abilities and their capability of completing a job? No, I’m not talking about THAT kind of job. I’m talking about supply and demand. I’m talking about service. I’m talking about, oh never mind because all of that can still relate to sex! And I feel myself getting so deep with this, and I am so sorry if you feel that this conversation is about you. But it is not. This conversation is about us growing and maturing and receiving what is in our path to receive. Just because you embrace women and upload photos of women and document that journey into exposing their breasts for the world to see for years, does not make you any kind of social media expert; at least, not in my book. Especially that you are not globally branded for this #Hefner What you are, in fact, might be an expert voyeur or an expert fan of attractive women. But, what am I endorsing you for? Why should I see you as credible? How are you substantial and where is your skill set? Have you gone as far as to create a corporation? Do you even have a business license in the local town or county where you reside? Or is everything about you virtual, including the connections that you’ve made, the people that you know and your journey in cyberspace?

Now please don’t take this the wrong way because I too had to create something out of nothing. I too have had twisted business relations (not many), but they were once upon a time foul balls. And of course, that was many years ago in my teens in my 20s and even in my 30s. Look me up, and you’ll see that I’ve committed crimes. But then does that make me less credible. Was John Gotti less credible as mob boss? Was Clinton less credible but for his White House endevours? #Lewinsky

Much of what we see today, be it the music or the screenplays or the columns in physical magazines or the things we see on TV or even the books we write… Much of that comes from nothing. These were once ideas that eventually gained momentum to (in someway) seem substantial. When it comes down to it, a police officer can even lack credibility, even though he has the shield the uniform and the pistol. So maybe you just need to question your OWN credibility and how that is or isn’t measured; how that is or isn’t substantial. Aks y’self, where yo’ credibility? (Yes, that was ebonics) Where are you, Substance? I am looking for you and your pals, and I am trying to shake hands and do business with you on a consistent basis. I’m trying to get past the Almighty hook up… yes, you know the one. And we have seen “the hook up” our entire lives, beginning with the credit reporting agencies and how to get AAA credit, onto nepotism as well as insider information (or insider trading). Who among us were clear and connected enough to have our friends who own businesses to endorse our credit thereby increasing our credit rating? Who among us had that business that enabled us to get a higher Dun & Bradstreet rating? And don’t act like many of you were not grandfathered into the D&B process… what a messy family D&B is. But its not just them; ANY of the almighty hook ups. Hey, if you got over, good for you. There are some in cyberspace who were once hucksters and who are still hucksters, only now on a greater level. And once again, I am not professing to be the almighty perfect business person where every business deal went right in fact, some deals went left and others went belly up. There are situations where I did the absolute best I could, and we could not pull out of a mutual resolution. Thank God, I have not been a court room regular. No lawsuits. None pending.
Meanwhile, I’m not here to blow whistles; just to make a point. I’m tired of the smoke & mirrors in life. It may have benefitted me in some ways in my growth, and for that I’m appreciative (and in ways DEAD WRONG for this essay!). But this new perspective I have on Linkedin shows me that things are still very shady. And since I’m tightening my close relationships, I’m only encouraging you to tighten yours. Many of us have been crying “foul” about the next person’s hook up for a long time. It is either just not right or they are just so lucky. But just not right and oh so lucky has turned into substance that they somehow nowadays live with and resource with and grow with and have since become a giant with. Drug deals have created rap billionaires. Illegal :”moonshining” has also created billion-dollar royalty. And didn’t royalty feed on Peasants, as did the Settlers preying on Indians? WE’RE ALL RESIDUALS OF SHADY!

Many sage advisors I speak with agree with me that “if its for you, its for you.” And “You’re gonna get exactly what you have coming in this life.” Something like “You reap what you sow,” but more along the lines of “what you attract into your life (and your business) is about what you plan for, what you pray on and prepare for.” Hmm… Plan, Prepare, Pray. Sounds like a great book title for a future Relentless theme!


World's Leading Urban Lit Author is also Publisher, Film Maker and marketing guru.

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