Illustration: Michael Rubin

The Forge Guide to Networking

LinkedIn Can Actually Be Helpful, If You Use It Right

A guide to the networking site everyone loves to hate

Published in
6 min readOct 2, 2019


OfOf all the social-media platforms, LinkedIn might be the one whose purpose is the most misunderstood. Facebook, despite its many alarming flaws, is still the go-to corner of the internet for announcements featuring babies and engagement rings. Instagram is the place to humblebrag, with envy-inducing shots of vacations and elaborate meals. Twitter, for most people, is just for jokes and article recommendations.

LinkedIn, by contrast, is where you go to… well, there’s a reason “the world’s largest professional network” is the butt of so many jokes. It’s where people go to stretch the limits of the word “hobby” (you snorkeled once, it counts!), to self-seriously detail the duties of college internships held decades ago, and to connect — well, “connect” — with anyone they’ve ever said “hello” to.

“Your childhood friend whom you no longer speak to because he told your classmates about the Barbie he saw in your room? Add him,” Colin Stokes wrote in a New Yorker piece mocking the sort of earnestness that runs rampant on the site. “The porn-site administrator whom you had to email to sort out your subscription? Hey, he might be a valuable…



Kate Morgan
Writer for

Kate is a freelance journalist who’s been published by Popular Science, The New York Times, USA Today, and many more. Read more at