Recently I spoke to a person who uses LinkedIn on a fairly regular basis—at least four times a week he said. When I asked him how often he shares an update, contributes to discussions in groups, or shares his thoughts in general; he told me never. So naturally I asked him what he does on LinkedIn; to which he said he reads what others have to say.
So I’m trying to figure out why someone would only read what others write. What fun is that? I’ll be the first to admit that I over contribute. I joke with my workshop attendees that I am probably the most hidden person on LinkedIn (people hide you when they’re tired of seeing your face on their homepage). In fact, I probably am.
Which isn’t to say I don’t read other’s updates and share articles written by others. A great deal of what I know comes from reading articles about the job search, LinkedIn, and introversion. I am constantly trying to increase my knowledge so I can share it with my customers and colleagues. Call me an equal opportunity contributor.
Back to the person who told me he doesn’t update, contribute to groups, or share his thoughts in general. Here’s the thing: LinkedIn is a platform that encourages its members to share information. Thus its recent roll out of the publishing feature—yes, I’ve contributed posts on LinkedIn—which gives anyone the ability to share their words of wisdom and thoughts.
For those of you who are on the verge of contributing on LinkedIn but haven’t taken the plunge, here are seven reasons I hope will urge you to make that leap.
1. You become memorable. Many of my connections will write to me, “I’ve enjoyed your posts. I find them helpful.” I am glad that first, people are reading my posts and second, they are gaining something of value. And it is a boost to my ego to be remembered by people.
2. It gives you a voice. Whereas some people are verbal communicators, others are written communicators. They find comfort in being able to express their thoughts without interruption. Updating and contributing to discussions in groups follows Parliamentary Procedure which allows one to speak, receive feedback, respond to feedback, and so forth.
3. LinkedIn is educational. When you write an update, contribute to a discussion, or post an article; you challenge yourself to present viable information, which means it’s best if you do a little research to back up your assertions. Similarly you can be assured that what others write is well thought out and educational.
4. What you contribute isn’t done with impunity. On occasion I’ve been told my blog posts are utter shite, so I have to brace myself for this possibility. When this happens my first instinct is to feel hurt, but then I think, “Hey, people are paying attention.” And that’s a good feeling. Sometime you need to have a thick skin.
5. Contributing to LinkedIn can position you as a thought leader. Not everything one writes is worthy of a Pulitzer. But when you contribute to a group discussion with well thought out content or write a post that adds value; you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader. I encourage my jobseekers to write articles on their area of expertise, even if they feel deflated from being out of work.
6. It’s fun. This is a matter of opinion. I find writing on LinkedIn extremely fun. For the five reasons listed above—plus an escape from the demands of daily life, as well as not having to watch mindless television—I love expressing my thoughts. My family doesn’t understand it until I ask my girls why they spend endless hours taking photos for Instagram. Enough said.
7. You become part of a community. You will interact with other people who contribute on LinkedIn. Many of the people I know on LinkedIn are also writers and contribute to discussions in groups. Do we all agree with each other? No, but we’re still online friends.
These are my seven reasons for contributing to LinkedIn. To simply read what others write and not write stuff of my own is not my idea of fun. I guess if I were a more understanding of people who feel shy about writing, I’d come up with seven reasons why it’s cool not to contribute. I can’t think of one, though.
Photo courtesy of Alex Couros, Flickr