What is LinkedIn? A soul–sucking, stressful platform for networking: social media for the professionally inclined.

You probably made an account during your freshman year, when the words OCR, consulting and coffee chat entered your vocabulary. You noticed Penn students treat LinkedIn with a bizarre reverence —  the same way they’re obsessed with New York, the color black and Joe Biden.

This time of year, Penn students check LinkedIn more frequently than Snapchat. They agonize over their profile pictures. What angle head tilt screams "Hire Me"? Which headline is most compelling? Where the Headshot Truck goes, Penn follows. Fall OCR may be over, but the pressure to get another impressive line on your resume is forever.

As the search for summer internship winds down, desperation increases. You say you waitressed for a summer; I say I was an independent self–starter in the culinary arts. You land a coveted Condé Nast fellowship; I toss your update a like to curry good favor. 

We get LinkedIn requests from everyone, everywhere. All's fair in love and networking. Say your ex sends you an invitation to connect — he may have broken your heart and your hymen, but sure, nice doing business with you. Your freshman year roommate views your profile; you'll peek at hers, even if you're never sharing a cubicle with that psycho bitch. And then there are the DFMO LinkedIn invites.  Repeat after me: “It makes me uncomfortable when we swap fluids at a party, then the next morning you ask me to recommend you on LinkedIn.”

Penn’s weirdness towards LinkedIn isn’t going away. Get together 10,000 caffeine–abusing overachievers and there’s bound to be competition. LinkedIn lists a life’s accomplishments: got that internship, won that award, earned that GPA. It’s pretty, perfected and polished. Of course it’s Penn’s strange addiction.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons.