Is LinkedIn becoming more like Facebook?

LinkedInBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Over the past few years, remote work across the world has blurred the lines between work and life. People are starting to post very personal messages on LinkedIn, which has traditionally been a work-focused social network.

I don’t know about you, but this feels weird to me.

When I come across a post that is very personal or religious, I want to comment that LinkedIn is not the place for this kind of message. Why? Because I have seen people receive a lot of backlash when they get too personal on LinkedIn. And what is worse, there are probably quite a few people that don’t want to “stir the pot” with their comment so they stay silent.

LinkedIn will soon have a billion users

That is a staggering number of people that have a LinkedIn account. Out of curiousity, I did a People search on LinkedIn just now and filtered the results to the Kansas City Metropolitan area. There are about 1,130,000 results. And if you take a look at population data, you will see that the KC Metro has about 2.2 million people. This means the majority of people working in Kansas City have a LinkedIn profile.

Interestingly, the number of posts on LinkedIn grew 41% from 2021. A driving factor for this uptick was that people could no longer see their colleagues, clients, and potential employers in person because of Covid. So they started interacting more on LinkedIn. As you can imagine, as people became more comfortable sharing on LinkedIn, the topics became more personal in nature.

Broad cultural attitudes toward the workplace, as well as what’s appropriate to share, are evolving.

LinkedInThis again is partly driven by the pandemic: people were suddenly given free rein to be vulnerable and express their fears online in front of their colleagues. Remote work simultaneously lowered inhibitions and eroded much of the in-office etiquette people are accustomed to.

With a generational shift, younger people sometimes have no problem oversharing. (They grew up in an environment where everything was sharable online.)

Exactly what is and isn’t acceptable on LinkedIn depends on the norms of your industry. Played right, it can help you stand out and get ahead – if you don’t push it too far. Opting out of the rat race entirely by not having a LinkedIn account, or no photo or description, may also be viewed as a red flag professionally.

In my opinion, it all comes down to this.

Everyone has to decide where they are at on the spectrum of information sharing online. The bookends are no sharing all the way up to sharing everything. It’s important to think about the ramifications of what you are sharing, especially knowing people may not tell you that they didn’t appreciate what you shared. Staying away from hot button topics like religion and politics might be a good idea if you are trying to bring people together versus the real risk of pushing people away.

What do you think about all this? Let me know in the comments!

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