LinkedIn and the Onslaught of Vacuous Posting


Reading time ( words)

Short column today. I am seeing more and more of the happy talk posts appearing on my LinkedIn home page. This is not good.

These posts tend to fall into two categories. The first is the inspirational quote type post, either a pithy saying or a pretty photograph or both. This type of post translates to "I don’t have anything worthwhile to say in my professional capacity, so I will be a cheerleader instead".

The second type is the math or similar quiz. You know the one: "No one can get the answer to this one: Four plus three divided by an orange equals?" or something like that. This second type of post translates as “I come to LinkedIn because I am bored. Are you bored too? Let's entertain each other!" Who in their right mind would basically answer "yes" by adding in their answer? In public, where all your LinkedIn connections can see it.

I suppose these types of posts were the inevitable result of everyone being told that they could increase their visibility on LinkedIn by issuing lots of status updates. Well, yes, you can. But you want to be known as the smart go-to person in your line of work. These types of posts don’t make me think "go-to"; they make me think "somewhere, a village is missing their idiot".

If these types of happy talk or time wasters are all you can do in the name of adding value to your LinkedIn network, that’s kind of pathetic. Do you think anyone who sees these posts will go "now this is a forward thinking individual I should do business with"?

Now, these posts don't bother me personally, for two reasons. The first is I know that I can hide this person's posts by mousing over the timestamp in the upper right corner of the status update box and selecting "Hide". This is something that I think the posters never consider: if they decide to actually post something of value one week or one month from now, I and all the other people that have hidden their posts will remain blissfully unaware of it.

The second reason is that these posts prompt me to reconsider whether I should be connected on LinkedIn with the author of the post at all. In a way, these posts are helping me be better on LinkedIn by having the not-so-valuable-at-all connections self identify themselves for me. I can clean up my network and increase its overall value by weeding out the people who are unlikely to provide any value.

The good news for these people is that there is a place for these posts. It's called Facebook.

The bottomline here? Bring value to your followers and readers.

Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in Social Media and especially LinkedIn. He has 30 years experience in high tech sales and management. He can be reached at brucej@practicalsmm.com or through his profile on LinkedIn.

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