LinkedIn is perhaps one of the more earnest forms of social media. It aims to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” as per their website. Yet LinkedIn, like most other social media platforms, suffers from the delusions of its younger users and their shameless assumptions that anyone gives a flying f***. Its purpose has been hijacked by the enthusiastic acolytes of the digital age who are obsessed with updating their mildly interested entourage with their every activity.
Now, in fairness, LinkedIn deserves defence before dispatch. To begin with, LinkedIn would seem to be by far the least controversial social media platform. In fact, LinkedIn appears to be an exercise in internet etiquette. There are no gyrating females or thirst-trapping fellas, nor comments sections inundated with quips sometimes so creative with their heinous declarations of disapproval it is regrettably amusing. The platform also isn’t inundated by virtue-signalling infographics at the faintest scent of a trendy injustice, nor does it allow tides of misinformation to flow freely to our frontal lobes as other media platforms have, at least not in my experience. On the face of it, LinkedIn has no deliberate attention-stealing or mind-numbing faculties constructed to keep you transfixed. How could it? An endless feed of FTSE 500’s declaring their unwavering commitment to diversity and other such disingenuous corporate initiatives — ridiculous.
Rather my grievance with LinkedIn is perhaps one for which it is not entirely responsible. To be clear it’s the people not the platform. LinkedIn has attracted the next generation of ambitious and aspiring young professionals into a constructive space, the trouble is that these individuals are already initiated into the traditions of social media. In their minds, laudable values of old such as humility have long since been replaced with the allures of garish self-promotion. This new generation’s profiles are festooned with every micro-achievement they’ve ever completed, and transferable skills have been gleaned from any activity more complex than bed-making. Meanwhile, every acquaintance imaginable has been looked-up for leverage.
Perhaps most jarring is the late summer update: “I’m thrilled to announce the completion of my internship”, missing the frequently relevant five-word additive, “that my dad got me”. The misusers of LinkedIn have created a whirlpool of anxiety that has grown to engulf even those most humble and self-deprecating, myself included. It’s only going to get worse when the generation who were thrusted iPhones shortly after exiting the womb come of LinkedIn age. To cater to the gnat-like attention spans of the youth, the platform will no doubt employ the strategy of its overlords at Meta: picture TikTok style self-aggrandizing videos, or worse, something Tinder-like for graduate recruiters to swipe on your profile. Another equally detestable element of this warped LinkedIn culture is the emphasis it has placed on networking. What could be interpreted as the sincere construction of mutually beneficial relationships i.e. making friends and being a social being, is understood by the LinkedInner as the art of bum-licking and/or “subtle” exploitation, putting in minimal effort for maximum leverage. It is barely human, and these fuckers host events revolving solely around this exact premise — let’s all meet up and see what we can rinse each other for? No thank you very much.
Owing to the trumpet-blowing of its users, opening LinkedIn is like being startled by a dissonant brass band consisting primarily of tubas and french horns. LinkedIn could perhaps rectify the situation, allowing us to don the earplugs if you will, by enabling users to post updates that can only be viewed by verified recruiter accounts and headhunters. That way, one could demonstrate their qualifications and career interests without telling the entire world. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Photo by Wikimedia Commons