Is LinkedIn the new Facebook?

Oh, say it ain’t so!

For those of us who either quit Facebook after realizing its pernicious impact on our time, mental health and even societal well-being, or the wiser ones who chose to never join, this may sound ominous assuming you’ve been a LinkedIn user for a while as part of your effort to grow your professional network.

LinkedIn has always also been a social media platform, with several functional similarities with Facebook, including the ability to post/share your thoughts, have people connected or removed like or share them and of course comment on them. And since the people using both are well, people – it’s not surprising that similar behavioral incentives work across platforms. The desire to get likes, to be lauded or at least seen/shared and to be engaged with.

The difference was always meant to be in the content and the tone/tenor of the content. While Facebook understandably was a free for all, with no restrictions on what you could share (private, personal, professional – anything really), LinkedIn was designed to be professionally oriented. While a loose definition, I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest that some of what we see people posting/doing on LinkedIn today doesn’t quite meet that bar. Some examples include:

  • Increasingly personal stories about loss of loved ones, moments of joy (in personal life) and just tales of triumph, trials and tribulations – not necessarily in the workplace. I know people have been asked to bring their ‘whole self’ to work in recent years but can we please leave some of your more personal details at the door when you walk in through the portal of LinkedIn?
  • Political statements and discourse. I’m considered a fairly politically engaged person (at least in words if not in deed) and in days past was not averse to wading into debate on Facebook. However, can we please not make LinkedIn a public forum about which candidate you support, what policies you espouse or just where you stand on the political spectrum? Again, take it to Facebook, or Twitter – or better still, perhaps actually get involved on the ground for whatever you believe in?
  • Increasingly, I see posts that are quasi-religious in nature, laced with hate and ad-hominem attacks on those who disagree.

Can we stick to finding new jobs, suitable candidates, deep-pocketed investors or expanding your networking opportunities in general, but all on the business front? I do believe a silent majority on LinkedIn will welcome that.

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