Founders of popular business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn recently admitted complete and utter disbelief at the success of their ironic poke at online narcissism. The elaborate joke has resulted in creating a platform for 106 million global users and revenues of nearly three billion dollars.
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Reid Hoffman laughed with a cigar clenched between his pearly whites:
Back in 2002 me and my unwashed, red-eyed and dreadlocked pals studied philosophy, attended anti-capitalist marches and only ate vegetables found in dumpsters. We cared about the environment, health, poverty and other bullshit like that. How naïve we were.
We dropped out of college as we didn’t agree with the concept of money being exchanged for education. We decided to create a social experiment poking fun at the self-obsessed nature of online society. The site prompted people to advertise their educational and professional attainment; and effectively sell their souls online.
Within about a couple of years the site had millions of global users and Hoffman and his skint hippy buddies, having grown up to realise that socialism, equality and environmentalism weren’t going to take off in capitalist powerhouse USA, started making good money off the site.
What I didn’t realise back then was that money really can buy happiness. I now own four super yachts, a private island and have five Scandinavian supermodel girlfriends – tell me that is not happiness.
It’s bat-shit crazy; in an age where people cry over online privacy, there are literally millions of people posting all their confidential information online. The site is only really frequented on Sunday evenings when people have partied all weekend and decided to sort their lives out and look for new jobs when the anxiety kicks in, post hilariously corny blog posts and motivational quotes by irrelevant dead people… but the absolute mugs are actually willing to pay me for it!
Statistics show that LinkedIn has more recruitment consultants than there are jobs, more account executives than there are accounts and more managers than operating companies and continues to provide an outlet for people to shout how fucking great they are within the safe realms of a virtual world.