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Stop using algorithms to force relationships on people

Yesterday, I received a barrage of “congratulations on your anniversary” messages from people on LinkedIn. I had no idea what they were talking about.

Apparently, I’ve been at my current employer for 2 years (and a month), and LinkedIn chose yesterday to let all of my connections know about it. They didn’t tell me about it, though.

More annoying, though, is their algorithmic approach to relationship building. When LinkedIn tells you about a milestone event for one of your connections, they provide a canned message you can send them.


That results in an inbox full of the same exact message from a ton of people you never talk to. I don’t feel any strong relationships to these people. If anything, I feel more distant because they couldn’t be bothered to customize the message in the slightest.


If you’re building an app that fosters relationships between people, provide them with useful information. But don’t try to turn those relationships into an algorithm. It never works.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.