Why does LinkedIn continue to ignore Catalan-speaking users?

Oriol Torres i Tornel's picture
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Has anybody heard of the biggest professional network in the world? It is called LinkedIn and it has caused the Latinism ‘curriculum vitae’ to be in danger of extinction. More companies and more people all the time ask for and send their ‘LinkedIn profile’ rather than that Word or PDF document, which have proved to be too difficult to update, especially nowadays when changing job is a very usual thing. LinkedIn’s success happened in parallel to the atomisation of the labour market. In a universe full of logos and websites within everybody’s reach, it is difficult to identify where the personal branding finishes and the companies start. To cap it all, LinkedIn is the leading social network in terms of authenticity. Therefore, we don’t question identities there because, as opposed to what happens with Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn transmits credibility.

Anyway, I’m not a LinkedIn salesman but an irritated user. Still.

Of the 2.3 million Catalan speaking users that LinkedIn says it has, 1.4 million in Catalonia itself, 730,000 in the Valencian Community, 126,000 in the Balearic Islands and 26,000 in Andorra, not a single one has the right to use this professional network in Catalan.

I don’t know how grave is it that the ‘Google of networking’, the guru of job opportunities and online business would ignore a European language which has nearly 10 million speakers and the capital of which is a city like Barcelona. I don’t know how grave it is; just a little, quite grave or huge. And I don’t really care because I don’t think that we have to do things according to how grave they are but according to our values.

Why does LinkedIn still ignore its Catalan-speaking users? Very easy: these users already use it the Spanish or English version. Indeed, LinkedIn’s market penetration in Catalonia is exactly the same as that in Spain, 18%. Thus, we all end up admitting that LinkedIn’s perception is right and that Catalan is a language for posting pictures on Facebook, sending tweets, commenting on politics and searching for information in search engines but not for working and doing business. Of course.

A sovereign Catalonia should be a useful instrument to ‘preserve’ the Catalan language, but I still have some doubts. We actually live on Planet Internet, where people are considered users and countries are called Google, Facebook, Twitter and also LinkedIn. How do we claim the right of some of the LinkedIn State’s residents, who don’t vote nor pay, nor are even considered citizens nor clients? I wonder which rights do users have, besides to stop being users. Do we have the right to protest?

An authorised voice from LinkedIn, to whom I want to thank for the good interlocution, told me that not sooner than in two years’ time Catalan will be completely recognised as a language of navigation on the platform. Meanwhile, what shall we do?

We could patiently wait, but I think it would be a mistake. If impatience and kind protests are what have actually get us closer to our goal, it is not recommendable to quit this strategy. Thus, I encourage you to sign this petition from Plataforma per la Llengua and join the group “Linquedin en Català, ja!”. The success of this small but noble cause has always been a matter of time. And time is gold.

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