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Is LinkedIn just a shallow echo-chamber for self-promotion?

Is LinkedIn a contrived echo-chamber for self-promotion and ladder climbing?

Yes of course it is, especially when compared with genuine face to face networking and relationship building.

Are we on it just because everyone else is? I know we are. A necessary evil of the age? Perhaps it is.

Having been in the human team and leadership development business since 1988, we have seen many networking mediums come and go. The online platforms tend to make us cringe though, as the interactions are all too often just so very plastic and insincere. Most of the posted content just serves to feed the contrived and compliant corporate style cultures that plague genuine teamwork and leadership.

LinkedIn, despite being a popular professional networking platform, is not without such real limitations. One of the most significant criticisms of LinkedIn is definitely its overt superficiality and highly contrived nature, which can in reality serve to seriously hinder meaningful connections, relationships and authentic professional interactions.

LinkedIn often promotes a shallow culture of self-promotion and manufactured image crafting. Users tend to highlight their accomplishments and successes, or shamelessly applaud those of others they seek the attention of, while downplaying their failures or struggles, creating a heavily contrived representation of themselves. This emphasis on personal branding can lead to a lack of transparency and authenticity, making it difficult to gauge the true capabilities and the genuine character of individuals. Not exactly the best basis for making important professional decisions one could say?

Furthermore, the platform's focus on accumulating connections and endorsements can foster a quantity-over-quality mindset. Users may prioritize amassing a large network of connections rather than nurturing genuine human to human relationships at depth. As a result, the value of connections on LinkedIn may be significantly diluted, with little depth or substance in so many of the interactions.

Another limitation of LinkedIn is the reliance on digital interactions, which can be impersonal and detached. While the platform allows for messaging and commenting, these forms of communication often lack the nuance and richness of face-to-face interactions. And face it, people are rarely honest or blunt, saying what they really think. Genuine rapport and trust-building can be challenging to establish solely through LinkedIn, strong professional relationships are built in-person.

LinkedIn's algorithm-driven nature can reinforce existing biases and contribute to a lack of diversity. The platform tends to prioritize connections and content based on popularity and engagement, which can perpetuate echo chambers and limit exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences. Go against the prevailing norm / trend, and it’s unlikely to be seen or heard.

While LinkedIn provides a valuable platform for the job hunting professional, and some superficial networking and grandstanding, its limitations, including superficiality and contrived behaviour, should be acknowledged. To overcome these limitations, users must strive for authenticity, prioritize meaningful connections over quantity, and seek out opportunities for genuine engagement outside of the platform's constraints.

Get back to saying what you think and face to face networking and interaction wherever possible we say. We trust the in-person formats we have seen actually work to develop lasting business relationships.

Like us, many remain on it because it's part of the online footprint we all need, but perhaps it's healthy just to see and acknowledge it for what it really is at heart, lest we gulp the Kool-Aid of contrived corporate culture for too long.

Most street-smart operators would concur to some degree I suspect, just never dare to say it on LinkedIn.


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