Thursday 23 May 2024


 A German network pal of mine recently asked what gets people’s goat about LinkedIn, for a talk he was preparing. Although he called it a rant. 

Replies (in no particular order) included: toxic positivity and enthusiasm, humblebrags, Simon Sinek, “Great Leaders do ....”, banal everyday experiences dressed up as profound insights “My cat was sick in the kitchen today. Here’s what I learned”, or once-in-a-lifetime experiences dressed down as business tricks “I proposed to my girlfriend this weekend - here’s what it taught me about B2B sales”, being scammed - yes, you ghastly creatures that want your grubby hands on my pension, woe-is-me victim stories, self-righteous virtue-signalling posturing, AI-generated and AI-stolen bullshit content, a general lack of lightness all around ...

Phew. I recognised most of it, along with the cultish nature of the site as described here by Coco Khan. She bemoans that the site now has its own language - no surprises there as it’s all prompts and AI. It takes a bit of effort, but I refuse to sound like a 5-year old at a party with a bouncy castle and a clown ("super-excited and thrilled!”), to “reach out”, to blab on about authenticity and vulnerability or read posts that hundreds or thousands have already liked.

What made me sad was Coco’s description of her friend whose experience is rich and diverse, yet doesn’t fit neatly into the boxes of LinkedIn. Know the feeling. And she puts it well when she says: “It’s shifting how we see our accomplishments, what we assign value to and what we don’t.” 

I am not a brand, I am a free woman. Or something. 

But, as a freelancer I’m stuck with it. Sort of at its mercy.

I’ll play the game up to a point. But I’m happy to be LinkedOut when it comes to real life.

My German pal, who’s smarter than me with this sort of stuff advised doing some proactive culling to get the algorithm working more in my direction. And it was strangely satisfying.

No comments: