LinkedIn content during Lockdown – what is going on?
Gripes about LinkedIn content during lockdown
Starting with one-off comments, these gripes are now becoming a pattern. What is going on?
What these remarks refer to is a sudden up-tick in activity on LinkedIn, some of it is hitting the wrong note and starting to ruffle feather and jangle nerves. It's clear that during lockdown people have more time. They are perhaps anxious about their circumstances and seeking connection which is understandable. Others are desperately looking for jobs, when there are few jobs on the market. Some are offering very often conflicting advice in enormous quantities. There are others in ambulance chasing mode. In the last month we have seen what seems to be the emergence of more career and business "experts", "thought leaders," and "gurus" than ever before.
One LinkedIn member said "the wave of guru-styled rubbish sweeping through this platform is exhausting to watch. Who knew we were missing out on all these "experts'!"
Main gripes with LinkedIn content during lock down
1. Upper case
Seriously upper case... that's an issue? It would seem so. That seems pretty petty. But not to Mariella, a network connection who flagged something up I hadn't noticed before and now I do. All the time. Once it had been pointed out to me, it seemed that everyone else had picked up on it too. In fact I can't stop myself homing in on it! She said "My feed is full of posts with the opening line IN UPPER CASE. It's been around for a while but seems to have grown in intensity in the last weeks. It's as if some LinkedIn expert has announced that this works for SEO , or attention grabbing or something. IT GETS ON ALL MY NERVES!"
Business Insider suggests that podcasts are the new white paper and videos are the new blogs. They are hot tipped to be a massive growth sector in 2020/21, with young and affluent listeners being the target market. It seems that everyone got that particular memo because LinkedIn has seen a veritable deluge of podcasts and videos of varying levels of quality. Yet research from LinkedIn's own marketing teams say that currently 57% of people don't listen to podcasts, so the competition for the 35% who do is fierce.
Janka literally groaned "Every day I look at my feed and I see either a one person video, or a two person video panel or a Zoom participant screen shot. It puts me off, unless it's a big name, when I would take a look."
Dawn Metcalfe, author of Hard Talk and Managing Director of PDSi MEA, laments what she perceives to be a negative trend "Oh just give it (and yourself) a rest!" she implored on LinkedIn. Stop worrying about stuff that doesn't really matter and focus on what does. I'm not arrogant enough to tell you what that is but I do know that where you spend your time now is telling. And it should be your decision. It shouldn't be some "guru" on LinkedIn or elsewhere telling you what to do."
Normally based in Dubai, but now in lockdown in Sri Lanka, she describes her own situation "On an average day in the "before time" I would have half a dozen in face meetings, deliver training/coaching/speaking, talk to friends and colleagues, plan for the future etc. etc. etc. Today I got running water back and sorted my electricity (i.e. I got a curfew permit for someone to come and do this). That's pretty much all I achieved beyond some basic admin.
And that's OK. WE ARE NOT WORKING FROM HOME. We are trying to survive in the middle of an unprecedented crisis that has left pretty much of all us trying to work out "what next?" You may be OK but you're probably worried about a parent, partner, child, sibling or friend. If you aren't then you're either extremely lucky or a psychopath. This post isn't for you.
For the rest of us - give it and yourself a break."
3. Polarising and binary language
Dorothy Dalton commented "I noticed this also in the 2009 recession. We see polarising language and binary choices as people compete for an audience. Always. Must. Never. Do. Stop! Situations are always more nuanced and complex especially in different geographies, so it's hard for everyone to make sense of the information overload. It can be crazy making. People have to make sure that they read content from trusted contributors. That can result in being stuck in your "confirmation bubble," so check out different sources to make sure you have a variety of input. Ditch the content that doesn't work for you by hiding the post or unfollowing the author. Just click on the 3 dots at the top of the post to get the options available to you."
4. Promotion or overkill?
All our contributors did a group eye roll around what they perceive to be the never-ending conveyor belt of "unrelenting sales pitches."
Jasmine is frustrated. "It's tone-deaf. People are dying. Stress levels are massive."
It can feel inappropriate and awkward for anyone in a selling or entrepreneurial role at the moment. One commentator said it's hard to "Navigate the fine line between being sensitive and going bankrupt." Their jobs, businesses and livelihoods maybe in question so it's a difficult question to grapple. It's really important to find a balance, or risk alienating not just a potential audience, but a wider market. Dorothy added "Last week in 3Plus we sent out a light-hearted newsletter "Let's talk about lockdown and unlikely upskilling". Never before have we had so many emails asking for another! It's about striking the right chord. Or maybe it was the picture of me in a homemade facemask that did it! "
And of course some products are helpful in this strange time. But no, an office cleaning service is not a must have in a #WFH situation.
5. Enough or too much?
The biggest gripes come from what is perceived to be too much content from the same people. LinkedIn recommends posting once or twice per week and no more than five times per week. For our group five times per week produced a communal groan.
You can always mute or stop following people who bug you (see above.) For individuals posting, check to see what engagement you get. Many LinkedIn experts suggest that the algorithms are weighted in favour of influencers which is an additional source of frustration. Make sure you find the balance by erring on the side of showing support for colleagues and connections, as well as taking care of your own interests.
Keep an open mind
And in the midst of all the chaff there is wheat! For the time being it's less easy to find. But that will swing back again. In difficult times, try to be kind and patient.
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