Apologies for the blunt language in this article’s title.
But, after reading a series of increasingly obsequious posts on LinkedIn this week, I need to vent.
Lets talk about this!
Whats Been Going On
First off, I’m not going to name names here.
I think the folks whose posts Ive read have embarrassed themselves sufficiently without me piling on.
For my readers, just check your own LinkedIn newsfeed, I’m sure you’ve got a few of your own suck ups among your connections who are posting merrily away.
Also, not all these types of posts are from my own first degree connections, somehow through the vagaries of LinkedIn’s algorithm, I end up with these. (I wonder if this article might stop this activity?)
Now to my gripe…
Lately, Ive been noticing a pike in overly fawning comments by employees of large corporations for virtually every mention of their employer or their senior executives made on LinkedIn.
I’ve railed against the “Facebookization” of LinkedIn for years.
But I’d reconciled myself a long time ago to my connections saying either “Congratulations” or a few words in that vein.
However, we seem to moved into a world of full blown sycophancy lately on LinkedIn.
Where the simplest mention of a company or an individual brings on a tsunami of fulsome praise of the worst type.
(And, no, I’m not jealous because no one ever does it for me. If anyone were to then we’d have one of those “conversations taken offline” that LinkedIn always talks about.)
Why Is this Happening Now?
I only have anecdotal observations here.
Corporate America is becoming more competitive, these statements of loyalty may be an effort to try and prove who’s more loyal and to stand out. (I can see fellow suck ups standing up at those group performance reviews that Corporate America loves so much now and saying, “He’s always saying good things about the company on LinkedIn!”)
Interestingly, these types of posts and comments tend to be made by subordinates about either their superiors or the company overall.
Rarely, do I see managers making similar comments about their subordinates.
Even more rarely, do the objects of these affections like or comment back.
That tells you something right there!
Certain individuals seem to be more prone to this than others:
- Mid-level mangers who are stuck in their careers
- Recent graduates who may not know any better yet
- Shell shocked survivors of corporate reorganizations desperately hanging on until they qualify for a pension
- People trapped in dead end positions, who know it, and are grasping at any straw hoping to be noticed.
Sadly, the desperation seems to get worse in posts as the culling drag on in some companies.
Why Am I Writing this?
Well, for one, Im getting tired of seeing these so called “posts” in my newsfeed.
Secondly, and probably, most importantly, these people are damaging themselves and I feel badly for them.
Future hiring managers will see these posts. (Yes, people do check your LinkedIn activity when they’re thinking about calling you in for an interview.)
Its bad enough when your colleagues don’t have respect for you or are laughing at you behind your back based on hearsay, its a whole other matter entirely when you regularly post updates online to reinforce their opinions of you.
People may come away with the impression that this is all you’re capable of, senseless dribble that adds no value.
What Should Be Done?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with posting or commenting on LinkedIn.
After all, that’s the whole idea of LinkedIn!
It’s how you do it that matters.
LinkedIn is a business social network and not Facebook.
A while back, LinkedIn looked like it was going to overwhelmed by brain teasers and puzzles; these, thankfully, have gone away.
What seems to have replaced them are these messages of questionable value disguised as professional communications which they’re not.
Your content on LinkedIn should always add value and continue the conversation.
When congratulating someone on LinkedIn, if you’re going to do it, talk specifically about how their contributions make a difference and why. (Hint: Use fact based nouns and avoid adjectives and adverbs. Don’t gush!)
When calling out an announcement concerning your employer, speak to its specifics.
And, always, always, stay positive!
Engage with others regularly and post your own original value added content and share with meaningful commentary that of others.
This way readers will see more of you and have more material to base their opinion of you on.
And, in closing, please don’t treat LinkedIn like its Facebook!
That’s it for now!
Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.
Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
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