3 reasons why people are getting more personal on LinkedIn

You might have noticed that content on LinkedIn has taken on a more personal touch. While I’ve never been a fan of this, I can understand it and even accept it…to a point. There was a time when I would write in the comments, “Take it to Facebook” when someone shared something personal. Now I simply scroll on down.

Photo by Nicholas Swatz on Pexels.com

Recently I came across a post from someone whose son voted for the first time. It was heartfelt but the verbiage indicated the importance of everyone having the ability to vote. Voting has been a hot topic in the news; it is a political one. I processed this post and scrolled on down.

I also happened upon a post about challenging yourself to be alone. Again, it had nothing to do with business or the job search. If the author had tied it to anything professional, the post would be LinkedIn worthy for sure. You guessed it, I scrolled on down.

Of course content on LinkedIn has been personal since its inception, but never to the extent that it is now. As I’ve said, I’m not as adamantly against it as I was in the past. And I think others are coming to tolerate, almost accept it, in today’s climate.

Here are three reasons why content on LinkedIn is becoming more personal.

COVID-19 has changed the game

Those of you who know me know that I’m on LinkedIn every day, so I don’t miss much. I have seen the aforementioned examples and other personal ones like them shared on LinkedIn. Yeah, it causes a little twinge in my neck, but I’m not as taken aback by it like I was in the past.

Why? Because we’re in a different world now. People need to maintain their sanity if they haven’t already lost it. We forgive all kinds of actions people take—within reason—because of the stress and anxiety the virus has caused.

COVID gives one a sense of “what of it?” This is what we might call the perfect storm when it comes to abandoning professionalism. “COVID is ruining my life,” people want to write out of frustration. They need the release of putting word on screen. They need to be well.

Here’s something telling:

The good news is that the data shows professionals are taking action to take care of themselves and their mental health, and that step alone is an empowering first one to take. Professionals on LinkedIn Learning watched 5x more courses on Stress Management, Mindfulness, and Meditation this year compared to last year. 

Excerpt from Prioritize Your Mental Health with Free LinkedIn Learning Courses

COVID has caused people stress and anxiety, even depression, but should LinkedIn be used as a outlet for release? And if so, how can this release come across as professional? I don’t know if it has to. I think people should take a moment or two to express their feelings.

A valid point made by one of my valued LinkedIn connections, Virginia Franco, is that COVID is forcing people to stay home and perhaps causing them to interact more on a personal level. With kids under foot and space declining, frustration runs high and things are said and written our of duress.

LinkedIn encourages it

With the advent of Stories, LinkedIn is encouraging people to tell their stories. There isn’t an emphasis on being professional as evident by people sharing their workspace, showing themselves cooking in the kitchen with their kids, filming their walking route (for 20 seconds), and other activities we would call ridiculous in the past.

Perhaps this is LinkedIn’s way of separating the “unprofessional” from the professional content.

I’ve heard people talk about how LinkedIn is trying to be Instagram, but because I’m not on Instagram, I don’t get what they mean. LinkedIn has tried to copy Facebook in many respects. Take LinkedIn Live or even recording video. Yep, Facebook did it first.

One of my favorite features is Polls. I keep my questions professionals, but I’ve noticed some LinkedIn members getting a little more personal. “What’s your favorite cereal–Frosted Mini-Wheats, Captain Crunch, or Mueslix?” is not a professional poll question. But would I lash out at the author? No, I’d say “Captain Crunch.”

I’m not a fan of photos of people who declare a personal accomplishment, but the one I ran across to today was bordering on personal. How did said person turn their personal photo into a somewhat professional statement. They asked how they could post it on their LinkedIn profile. The comments they received were all complimentary.

I also happened upon a post about tables:

I’m obsessed with tables.

Some of my best business ideas came while at a table. The most memorable conversations I’ve had with my wife and kids were at a table. The last time I saw my hero (my grandfather) before he died was at his dining room table.

Today I got a new table!

Here’s to new business ideas and more memories. 🍻

Where do you get most of your creative ideas?

What I ask you does buying a table have to do with professionalism. Oh well, scroll on down.

Facebook and other outlets aren’t favored by some

We have to agree that some people on LinkedIn don’t use other outlets for personal content. They’re not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube; even if they are, they don’t use these platforms. Probably can’t remember their passwords.

I’m on Facebook but take too much slack from the females in my family because of what I post, so I post sporadically and have my wife to sign off on my posts. This is probably a good thing, as I tend to be somewhat daft on certain matters. But I see many of my friends posting every day. Oddly they’re not active on LinkedIn, but this isn’t the point.

What do you do if you want to share a vacation, mention that you’re taking a cooking class, celebrate your kid’s graduation, or announce the death of someone important to you? Because you don’t use Facebook or the others, you’re in a bind. You so badly want to let the world know the news.

We’ve seen the angry side of people post racist comments and try to use LinkedIn in as a dating site, to name a few. In addition, I read an excellent article posted on LinkedIn about how bosses suck.

Articles like these aren’t rare—I’ve even written articles about how bosses can be better—but they probably don’t do job seekers much good.

I happened upon this post that has very little to do with the job search or business. It’s not professional but it comes from the heart:

[In] my opinion, there’s nothing worst than a human, who wants to hurt another human; Because a human is able to hurt even your heart and your soul, while a wild animal can only hurt your body. Humans are very different creatures on earth. Created to select between good and bad.

Don’t you agree?

Author is anonymous

Things might have gotten out of hand, as LinkedIn has just released a feature that issues a warning if the content someone posts is too controversial, e.g., using LinkedIn as a dating site or spewing racist and political garbage.

Perhaps LinkedIn has seen the writing on the wall. Is LinkedIn becoming too personal? I stated earlier that for various reasons some personal content can be understood, even accepted; but come on folks, let’s not get too personal.

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