Scroll through LinkedIn, and it’s cringe after cringe. A never-ending stack of performative, self-aggrandizing humble brags. I know you’re excited about your current job, project, or mission – but is it coming off the wrong way? Is the Digital Representation of You the YOU that you want to project? Let’s audit my feed in Episode 196.
Show Notes / Links from the Episode
- The Ambient Awareness Test
- You Don’t Need My Advice
- Stop Mimicking What Marketers Do
- My project about auditing the media we consume, share, and produce: Consider the Source https://patreon.com/mboezi
- Rip me to shreds on Twitter, LinkedIn, email, or in the comments
Completely agree that MSFT turned Linkedin into a sewer of self-prepossessing, status-seeking muck. In fact, thinking of the massive inefficiencies caused by MSFT over the years, a good bet could be made that the dollar cost of those inefficiencies outweighs MSFT’s book value in the securities marketplace.
That said, most social media platforms take full advantage of our wired human for status-seeking – it’s never-ending. We see this phenomenon in virtually every social media platform – basically, Andy Warhol’s prediction about how one day we will all have our “15 minutes of fame” (writ far larger than Warhol could have imagined in his day).
If someone is passionate about something and passionate about how that thing helps our world, I want to hear about how it is *legitimately* is helping our world; I don’t need (or want) to hear about how the self-promoter on Linkedin is responsible for those benefits, because (taking your lesson to heart) I *know* that’s the case, by default – because the person writing the Linkedin entry is telling me about said benefit. Yes, human beings are capable of deducing that kind of connection.
I don’t need to hear about how someone just authored their last book – rather, I want to hear about what that author hopes her book will accomplish; what I can learn from it; what wisdom has been instilled; etc.
Another point you made – namely, about how we’re stuck with MSFT garbage, applies to many other platforms. Frankly, notwithstanding your good advice, things may get worse before they get better. Why? Because the allure of thinking that one can impress and/or gain status via social media platforms like Linkedin is baked into the platform *by design*. There is a lot of applied cognitive neuroscience at work in these platforms; add to that the rich data sets that feed AI algorithms. Social media platforms – the big ones – employ large groups of cognitive scientists who apply knowledge about how our individual brains work, in order to keep us “engaged”. We’re almost helpless to resist because these platforms appeal to our most basic *wired* social reward drives.
Over time (I won’t venture how long) people – 10’s of millions of them, one-by-one) will realize that the time they spend self-promoting on their Linkedin feed doesn’t really differentiate them that much among the sea of 10’s of millions of people doing the same thing. My internal optimists voice tells me that the conglomerate of all social media networks – including the totality of all the information that transpires on the Internet – is creating a different “human species brain” that will begin to figure out what is wasteful – a kind of self-correcting universal feedback loop. We’re not there, yet.
All we can do in this time of the wretched reality of social media self-promotion is to hone our critical thinking skills to the point where we can pass by useless stuff because we have developed a personal shorthand re: what’s worth our time, or not. Those who do will have a better chance of survival within our respective domains.
Keep being a measured voice in the social media wilderness (perhaps a better word is “triple-canopy-jungle” because one has to hack through thicket to proceed). Thanks again, Michael
Michael Boezi says
You’re right Sanford, it’s not a fair fight. At some point, at least for me, dismissing the “useless” reaches critical mass and renders the whole platform pointless. Facebook is already there, obviously. Instagram and LinkedIn, both armed with imitation over innovation, will battle to their respective deaths. Good.
Difficult to top Michael’s comment, but I wonder if the design of LinkedIn’s feeds isn’t partly to blame. It seems to discourage conversation and encourage proclamations and headlines; possibly because the original poster is privileged by the design, and respondents minimized.
I fear that this style of interaction actually works. That is, people who are spending time crafting these “professional selfies” ( nice one, Michael) are getting attention that is translating into demand. I’ve come to suspect that aggression, generally, is rewarded in societies. This isn’t good news for introverted, WASPs, such as myself. C’est la
Michael Boezi says
This is a very good point about the UI, especially with the nesting of comments. Visible strategies are a flywheel, enough turns and it becomes the culture.
Rachel Marcelle says
Sometimes it’s a lot of fun and sometimes, it’s very hard to get through. Even worse when you have to wade through all of it because it’s your job to market and you can’t be invisible. Also lots of regurgitated ideas over and over…after a while it stops holding interest.
Michael Boezi says
You got it Rachel, it’s the regurgitation. With so much space to fill AND a perceived requirement to “be present,” how can it NOT be the same ideas cycling around and around? Like anything, the gems are scarce.