Do you think LinkedIn is becoming too personal?

By Bob Morrell on November 25, 2021

A few weeks ago, we conducted a poll on LinkedIn asking the question above. The response was 70/30 – Yes, it is becoming too personal. This could be partly because of the pandemic, and a migration from previously more personal social media sites, like Facebook.

LinkedIn is primarily a business networking hub. Your CV is permanently loaded there. You can post articles, blogs, videos, and other promotional messages to your list of connections. It is, and has been, a primary business tool for networking and growing your business connections. As a public relations tool, it allows us to show what we’re working on, to promote our podcasts, articles, and resources to our contacts, and to comment on business related issues.

Now, there are all manner of posts involving personal stories. Some are intensely personal, well-meant stories dealing with grief, loss, mental health issues and tragedies. So, what are the reasons for this? One, might be, that when posting on other sites, there may be a belief that engagement on those sites is dropping off, whereas on LinkedIn something is, perhaps, more likely to be read and commented on. Possibly, it allows us to blur the lines between friends and business associates, and we feel that allowing people closer may benefit us both socially and commercially. Are we cynically exploiting this audience, who we think are bored with business and management chatter, and hope their sympathies will be engaged?

This has led to some cynicism, expressed on the platform, where spoof posts are being written, of people making minor progress in their lives, like passing a driving test, and then bigging up these activities and thanking lists of individuals, tenuously linked to this achievement in an over-grateful way.

Of course, many will feel that by sharing, they can help others, and that is a noble reason, of course, the question is, is this the right forum? In being affected by a personal story and sharing it or liking it (is that the right word?) there may be a danger that we are diverting the users from the original purpose of the platform. Or has that platform changed? Perhaps the business user must look elsewhere for an audience of business people, interested in business related content, and leave LinkedIn to those who are now becoming increasingly interested in the deeper emotional issues of their connections? We’d welcome your thoughts.

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