THE MISSING LINK

By: Stuart White 09-12-2021

 

THE MISSING LINK

So you have just earned your MBA  and feel you want to share this with your LinkedIn network. You are considering a moderate head and shoulder, somewhat conservative picture or maybe one  holding your certificate, graduation gown and cap on, in a professional pose. Some of you may hesitate, wondering if that level of self promotion will be perceived as narcissistic, smug or arrogant; others, it appears, don’t think twice. Let’s take Jennifer for example (apology to any Jennifers out there)

Jenny,  who never got the memo about professional networks and who incidentally has achieved diddly squat in the last year, will think nothing of posting a montage of herself, heavily made up wearing her pouting lips-look adorned with a seductive corporate outfit (often with red stilettos), with the caption “Loving life, loving work, upwards and onwards...” It doesn’t make any sense to me but that won’t stop a few likes and comments like “go girl – get them!” which must be some sort of code that I can’t decipher and understand. LinkedIn, the business Facebook, is these days full of it (double entendre and pun fully intended!).

Like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, LinkedIn is a social network site, and like many others it's owned by the big tech company, Microsoft. But, unlike them, LinkedIn is a PROFESSIONAL networking site, designed to help people make business connections, share their experiences & resumés and find jobs. This is their mission - connect with the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful, something that Jenny’s montage falls far short of contributing to, and that too many other people’s don’t, either.

Now I know that curriculum vitae information may not always be spot on and I expect a certain amount of embellishments like one I saw recently.  It had a Winnie-the-Pooh cartoon commenting on a LinkedIn post which had substituted “ I worked the drive thru’ at McDonalds” –  with “ I was an associate at a multinational firm in the service industry with revenue of over $20 billion. Served as a liaison to the automotive industry”! Technically true but a little high falutin’ for someone bagging burgers!  Naturally on any site people may over-inflate who they are and their accomplishments but that doesn’t bother me because it is work and business related and to be expected to a certain extent when someone is selling their brand.

No, what drives me mad are those amateur two-minute videos or promotions. Everyone knows you can take film clips on your I-Phone, but this is LinkedIn, not YouTube. These kinds of videos do nothing but make you come across as unprofessional, sound terrible, and look as bad.  My counsel to you is post audio-video presentations and pitches to YouTube where they belong.

Another thing that really gets my goat is the “My son just graduated, and I am the proudest mum” kind of posts. Well, that may be great and in another setting I might even be happy for you  and tell you so but LinkedIn is not Facebook…post those pictures of your children’s achievements, funny holiday snaps or the café latte you are just about to have, there.  I don’t want to know!  Similarly I am not interested in your socio political views – this is a business platform, so discretion should be the guide.

And then my worst - those who just want to post a picture of themselves with some random shallow quote about friends being the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life – another encrypted message that only those who view life as a salad bowl will get.  Are bacon bits the salad equivalent of the cherry on top or are they inappropriate gatecrashers – the awkward misfits of the salad world?  I am never sure what process they follow...do they say ‘I want to put up this picture and think of something pretentious to go with it’ or really think that sharing the quote will have meaning to someone’s professional life that day and that their picture is relevant because they took the time to post it? Or am I being a Grinch? Am I the only one that gets annoyed by people posting clichéd images with quotes on them because they don’t add any value to my feed? 

I find it all infuriating, like when you are trying to take a photograph and it gets spoiled by some idiot photo-bombing you by unexpectedly appearing in the field of view as the picture is taken.  It’s supposed to be a joke but instead of it being funny you’re left furious ‘cos you really are trying to get a specific picture.  Well, that is how I feel on LinkedIn when I must wade through all the other junk that gets in the way of me doing what I want and that is to hear professional news, views and opinions or make business connections related to recruitment, coaching and other BUSINESS things.  Not funny business, not what amounts to the oldest profession, not phoney philosophising  and not tacky, Tik-Tok clips.

As I write I am scrolling down my news-feed of LinkedIn – don’t tell me men can’t multi task -  and I’m getting a post loaded a few minutes ago saying  “Kindly show my page some love”,  with a selfie of a rather dour looking chap which already  has 22 likes, hearts and comments – blame the morons who like the post as much as the one who uploaded it. Then there are those which think it’s a religious platform as if they are tone-deaf about the need today for diversity and inclusion so here is an evangelistic post, albeit thanking God for their career, but the cynic in me thinks it’s more like putting down a safety deposit for the next job. It says, “Sometimes God doesn’t remove your problems, he makes a way through them!’ - 232 hearts on that one! Next is an attractive and posed lady in a business suit telling all the readers what a tough year she has had but OMG how well she has responded and that she is truly grateful because all the adversity has just been a catalyst for her growth. She goes on to share her pearls of wisdom and advise all the others out there who don’t look like a million bucks or have a fantastic job like hers, sanctimoniously advising them to rest this festive season, as she intends to”.  This receives an abundance of comments including “You look astoundingly gorgeous” which was exactly what she was aiming for – mission accomplished.  Shades of Prince Harry telling everyone this week on his personal media platform that if you don’t like your job, just resign!  Hmm.  Not everyone has gazillions in the bank, like you, Harry.

I give up! I’m the one who needs a lie-down.  I’ll post you a selfie on LinkedIn from my couch!