LinkedIn isn't Facebook - or is it??
"THIS ISN'T FACEBOOK!!!!" screams an angry LinkedIn commenter under a video that showcases a pilot's ability to land a plane in extreme storm conditions.
I see this all over LinkedIn; posting police who apparently have an exclamation mark quota and can't stand the thought of people having fun or connecting in ways they consider to be too casual, too fun or too darn engaging for a "Professional Social Platform".
They are certainly angry about it - but are they right?
Depends who you are.
I was watching Comedians in Cars with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock - and they discussed how all life and its enjoyment is really about the company you keep.
"A gourmet meal with an asshole is a horrible meal - a hot dog with an interesting person is an amazing meal." - Chris Rock
That is why - for me, Facebook is an enjoyable platform. I've managed to whittle the 'friends' list of past classmates, coworkers, lifelong acquaintances and people I met during my travels down to a tight list of approximately 230 solid peeps.
This refined list offers my feed a consistent collection of content I can quickly browse, relate to, enjoy and laugh about later in life - often in-person - with those same friends.
I may not see them every week - I may not want to see them every week - but they are kindred souls (and the wives of people I don't wish to offend) and we generally like the same stuff.
It’s a little different on LinkedIn - although this platform isn't reserved to people I traditionally host in my home - although some are the exception - it represents a network of professionals that I have met, heard about or that (blush) heard me speak somewhere and added me for follow-up questions.
It also includes past bosses I never clicked with, clients that made my hair turn grey and people I've selfishly identified as potential "good people to know".
I don't delete contacts unless they go against the family and I didn't make sure we share the same sense of humour or political views before I added the majority of them - if I've worked with you - you're in!
As a result - I've see everything on my feed from work anniversary announcements to tank top selfies - and even the odd 'you gotta see this' video or word or number quiz (some of which I even participate in, especially when I've already done them somewhere else, Googled the answer for confirmation and then confidently placed my answers above all the fools that forgot BEDMAS. Swish!)
The point being - LinkedIn as a platform reminds me of most of the jobs I've had.
Everyday I would come to an office where I see people whose opinions I don't agree with, bosses I didn't particularly like and overly cheerful temps I didn't get attached to. Even the odd tank-top-wearing cheese doodle.
Similar to working in a professional environment, you take what you like, (try to) ignore what you don't and remain focused on the job you are there to do.
In the meantime, if you are lucky, you have a few office friends you chat with by the microwave or share a video link with throughout the day - heck, chances are you've even witnessed something get broken while someone entertained the office with a 'shenanigan' or exaggerated impression.
The point is that just like at the office - having a little fun on LinkedIn shouldn't cause people to, quite literally, rage out on their computer.
LinkedIn in isn't a timeout or detention with 'professionalism' as the assigned task. It is a place to network. To share ideas and to, hopefully, expand your mind and your network.
Unless the nipple has made an appearance - or someone racist is hurting something cute on video - why not let that person simply be themselves until you (and their current HR rep) quietly shows them the door?
That's the beauty of social media - you don't have to be here and you can always walk away.
If you find yourself YELL-TYPING and rebuking people who are posting videos or images that dozens of others seem to like, it's not a sign that you 'get' the rules surrounding professional social networking - it's a sign that you suck at it.
You may think that you speak for the masses, and that your connections will see you as the type of straight-shooter they want to work with - but who the hell wants to work with someone that can't take five minutes to relax, stretch your mind in a different way or simply enjoy a relatable laugh?
Unfortunately, just like driving, raising children and using the self-checkout at the grocery store - you don't have to be qualified to participate when it comes to social media.
But you should be!
There are things you should know about social media (strategies you should be utilizing) before you waste your precious time participating in something you simply don't understand. (unless you are there specifically to waste your time, in which case - go nuts!)
Believe it or not, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram - heck, even Facebook can all be strategically used to increase engagement, culture and... SALES!
You should be aware how to interact with, post on and manage your account in a way that fosters real engagement and that can position you to offer your gourmet meal or your hot dogs in a way that makes you interesting, and worth eating a meal with.
Not perfect. Valued.
Want a non-hateful review of your social media platforms for the chance to capitalize on the power of strategic optimization?