Survey: LinkedIn Lacks Appeal for Hill Staffers

Hill staffers value social media, but are taking a pass on the business-networking site LinkedIn. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill offices may vary on their Facebook and Twitter interactions, but they agree on one thing: opting out of LinkedIn. The business-oriented social networking site was recently rated as least important by congressional staff in establishing their member of Congress as a thought leader.  

"It makes sense, offices are looking for mediums to communicate with constituents, like Facebook or Instagram," said Jennifer Curley, a former hill staffer and president and CEO of the Curley Company, Inc., which commissioned the survey.  

The survey found that media interviews, official website and networking were considered very important in establishing their member of Congress as a thought leader. Least important: an official blog, YouTube and — ranked last for importance — LinkedIn. Out of the 101 hill staffers who responded, only three listed LinkedIn as "very important."   LinkedIn boasts over 300 million users and calls itself the "World's Largest Professional Network." That network, it seems, excludes the Capitol Hill community.  

Curley found it unusual that hill staffers weren't using LinkedIn to cultivate their own digital reputation, which she said is common in the corporate world. "When you have a meeting with someone, you go online and look at their LinkedIn profile," she said. "It makes sense for your own thought leadership or digital reputation."  

But hill staffers may not feel the need for such digital assistance, “Junior staff see [LinkedIn] as an old guy’s tool, and the older, experienced staff on the Hill don’t need a virtual network to connect them to new jobs because they’re so much in demand," said Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation.  

Curley defended LinkedIn and believes Capitol Hill staffers could benefit from the site. "People in our business use it all the time."  


Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Topics: social-media