LinkedIn for Lovers: Good Idea or Terrible?

For a while, LinkedIn was somewhere on the D-list of my social media options. But yes, of course, I had it. I set it up in college when my advisor told me to — but did it really do anything for me? Not really. Over the years, I’ve built up contacts and established my network as a journalist and today, I meet the 500+ connections standard set for an active LinkedIn user. And I have to say, the site’s newsfeed catches my eye from time to time, and it’s been a relatively handy accomplice during lulls in my freelance years. But I still don’t really use it for the suggested networking aspect. Not really.

But what if you could use it for networking ? — Wink, wink.

LinkedUp! launched this week for iOS and unlike Hinge and Tinder, it uses LinkedIn rather than Facebook to pull in your network and personal information to verify your account. Founder Max Fischer told the Wall Street Journal that he decided to sync with LinkedIn to offer “much higher-quality matches” because “people get a really true sense of where someone’s from, what they do, and where they went to school, which are the main questions people ask in terms of dating.”

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In theory, Fischer, a former investment banker, is right. Those are typical first date questions — they get asked and their answers assessed, but will putting a focus on those factors lead to “higher-quality matches?” Fischer continued to say that the app will allow singles to mingle with “a network of professionals with common backgrounds” — which, after years of experience, I can say is pretty bleak for a straight female working in fashion.

Psychology Today’s Stephen Snyder, M.D. says, despite workplace boundary concerns, the app’s concept may have promise. He wrote, “Most of the people I see in the office work very long hours. So their business community is often closer and more intimate than their home community. I wondered if LinkedUp! might tap this power of one’s work community for human connection—and maybe lead to more promising dates.”

Sounds extremely valid. So I signed up — for research purposes, of course.

The interface mirrors Tinder: You upload a vague photo-driven profile, plug in your coordinates, and start swiping — right to “like,” left to “pass.” Mutually hit “like” and you can start chatting away.

To initially sign up, LinkedUp! asks you to log into your LinkedIn account — requiring you to directly type your e-mail and password into the app. They vow: “We’ll never post anything to LinkedIn.” However, the lack of official affiliation with the website is rather concerning. I feel the extremely intimate and hard-earned trust of my 500+ connections slipping through my grasp.

But for the sake of love! Or Likes!

The app yanks your industry, mutual connections, current occupation, and school(s) from your LinkedIn account. You can choose to share and hide as you please. Then you set your name, age, and select up to five photos of your own accord. Match settings can be set based on age, gender, and location. Get five friends to sign up — through social media or e-mail — and you gain access to filter matches by industry or school.

So who else signed up for LinkedUp on the first day of its launch? Um — The creatively “employed.” The overeager. And other media professionals trying to figure out a story peg.

After less than a dozen swipes, I’m done with my queue. But make no mistake: There are members in the Boston area.

Believe it or not — LinkedUp! isn’t the first dating app explore the use of LinkedIn to find matches. Forbes noted that a paid dating website called Hitch.me was developed in 2012 to “help find love and business partners on LinkedIn.” Their website now solemnly reads: “Due to recent updates made to the LinkedIn API and the lack of support being offered to developers, we have decided to shut down Hitch.me. We do apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause our users.”

Fast Company deemed LinkedUp! the “dating app of your nightmares,” suggesting the potential workplace disaster that can ensue when professional and personal mesh in an unsavory — even if unintentional — manner. Rebecca Greenfield wrote, “Some people might thrive off of a steamy, illicit office romance. But, many of us are already confused enough about the boundaries between networking and flirting. At least on LinkedIn, we know where things stand. Let’s keep it that way.”

Whether or not LinkedUp! will cause the demise of your career and reputation is up for debate, but we’d like to suggest a new filter feature to remove connections from your own workplace. Looking for love in your professional network would just be awkward.

h/t Business Insider