As a site that likes to call itself the "World's Largest Professional Network", LinkedIn has done an admirable job of signing up many users that have traditionally been shy of getting involved in social networks. Most of us understand though that the usefulness of every social networking platform essentially comes down to how we decide to use it. Facebook and Twitter often get unfairly accused of hosting a more dumbed down group of users who prefer to indulge in brainless blathering. While it would be all too easy to find and provide evidence in support of this assertion, there are also many examples of frequently valuable and attention-worthy interactions and content being shared amongst these users.
As many may be aware, Facebook came under fire recently for the large volume of fake accounts that it was allegedly hosting, with all the negative implications that this would have for its advertising model. Twitter has also been notorious for the large number of bot accounts that are used for SEO spam. As both Facebook and Twitter have discovered, effectively policing such a vast and fast growing number of users is an incredibly difficult task.
While LinkedIn has been somewhat resistant to this trend in fake profiles, it's now becoming ever apparent that it's beginning to succumb to the same fate. For those with a sense of humour though, some of these clearly fake profiles provide a brief respite from the deafening noise of professionals collectively blowing their own horns.
Here are 5 such profiles particularly deserving of attention:
Tony Montana - 69 connections, a recommendation and a member of the "Miami Import Professionals Group". Tony certainly realises the value of networking on a global scale.
Tyler Durden - 98 connections and 2 recommendations. It's hard to imagine Tyler Durden having anything but bad intentions for even registering on a site like LinkedIn.
Tony Soprano - Unfortunately Tony doesn't seem to have put much effort into networking, but with so many people out there waiting to "whack" you, it might be a better idea to keep to yourself. Judging from the "people also viewed" list, Johnny Sack and Paulie Walnuts also seem to have recognised the benefits of LinkedIn.
Dr. Henry Jones Jr. - AKA Indiana Jones. Indy doesn't appear to be spending much time wooing any academic departments or research funding bodies. Given the opportunity to explore exotic ancient temples though, you probably wouldn't be wasting your time on LinkedIn either.
Han Solo - Sadly Chewbacca doesn't appear to be on LinkedIn due to its discriminatory practice of requiring surnames, otherwise Han would almost certainly have benefited from his glowing recommendation.
With plenty more amusing LinkedIn profiles out there, it's safe to say that Facebook and Twitter aren't the only ones having trouble distinguishing between genuine and fake accounts. Wall Street in particular would be wise to keep an eye on this trend before making any judgements about the network's real value.