LinkedIn – better than Tinder?


I’ve always considered LinkedIn to be Facebook for boring people. I signed up to it yonks ago, because I guess I was a professional too (if you consider a political speechwriter slash photocopy boy to be a profession). With time, LinkedIn became slightly less boring, having somewhat Facebookified itself, with a similar newsfeed and all. Unfortunately, the newsfeed still was – and is – full of dreary motivational quotes, management inspirations and business news. Give me videos of funny cats any day, though I guess LinkedIn is what it advertises itself to be, nothing more, nothing less.

That’s why I was intrigued to chance upon an article titled “Forget Tinder, professionals are using LinkedIn to hook up”. Alas, as most social trends and lifestyle articles these days, this piece from “The New York Post” disappointed. Instead of financial advisers maniacally swiping right, and accountants involved in orgies with management consultants, all I found were two cutesy anecdotal stories involving professionals linking up, meeting and eventually falling in love, as well as an obligatory warning from an expert to be careful with what you say and how you use what is primarily (and secondarily and tertiarily) a professional networking site.

Do people hood up through LinkedIn? There might be a few cases, but I think it’s unlikely. Do some people find romantic relationships through LinkedIn? Probably; the same way they can and occasionally do through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

As your LinkedIn newsfeed also includes notifications about people in your network linking up with others (the equivalent of “becoming friends”), I will always fondly remember one Australian guy in my network (note: I don’t know him personally) popping up on my newsfeed virtually every day on the occasion of him linking up with yet another extremely attractive female, whose professions and locations varied as widely as their hotness didn’t. What that exercise was meant to accomplish I have no idea, but the guy’s LinkedIn network was undoubtedly very impressive, prompting me to wonder whether it was me or the alpaca in the profile picture that he has found to be a 9 or a 10.

Personally, I always thought that LinkedIn should provide some dating service, considering how strong the assertive mating instincts are amongst people with similar education, jobs and status, but I imagine that LinkedIn would have thought any serious foray into this area to be cheapening the brand. LinkedIn or not, we have been seeing, and we will keep seeing, a lot more professionals coupling up with other professionals. Long gone are the “Mad Men” days of the bosses frequently marrying their secretaries, or doctors marrying nurses – and of course not that there is anything wrong with that at all. It was popular in the past not necessarily because the chauvinistic men would not bear having an “equal” partner, but because there were so preciously few women of similar professional backgrounds. Not so any more. While “a solicitor and a hairdresser” or “an academic and a tradie” do exist, by and large people increasingly stick to the same level of education and equivalent status jobs. This has certainly been my experience in over a decade of internet dating, and in the more real life I don’t think I know any couples amongst many friends and acquaintances which could be classified as a case of “opposites attract”. Sociologists bemoan that this assertive mating harms intergenerational social mobility and strengthens social stratification, with distinct social and professional castes forming that increasingly have less and less regular interaction with each other. But when we have a choice, most people feel more comfortable around the familiar, and what does love care about sociology after all?