Every day I use LinkedIn. I use it as an address book, I use it to find people, I use it to check out what people are doing before I give them a ring. These days when I look at my LinkedIn alerts I don’t just get important updates about people changing jobs, or requests for help, I also get something else. I get crap. Some of this crap is coming from you, and I want it to STOP.
[Sorry for the bad language but lets call a spade a spade]
There are two forms of crap on LinkedIn – status updates and long form posts.
Go to www.linkedin.com and log in. This is where you see the status updates. Here are some examples – how many have you got?
- Motivational Quotes
- Murder Mystery Clues
- Videos of car crashes
- Quotes from designers about what ‘Good Design’ is
- Photographs of attractive ladies on horses
- Pictures of your new car (or one you want)
- PR about your latest product
- Pictures of your favourite graffitti
- Slideshares of Richard Bransons favourite quotations
- Photographs of Donald Trump and what you love/hate about him
- Photos of a blind expectant mother touching a 3d print of her unborn child’s face…
I get a couple of hundred of these every day. Somewhere amongst the hundreds of duds some of my network are asking for things I can help them with, or they are sharing useful pieces of advice, but I can’t see their updates because I am drowning in the crap.
Then there are the even more insidious long form blog posts.
Long Form Blog Posts
Long Form Blog posts also appear in your home feed, but you’ll probably see them in your notifications (see the flag in the top left hand corner). These are the sorts of Long Form Blog Posts I get:
- Why Norfolk Should Grow
- Is Collaboration Part of your Business Strategy?
- Sustainability Strategy Secrets of the Masterminds
- Get Bright LED Facts
- 3 Reasons why Blogging is Smart for Business
- The Accountants Alphabet: A
- [FINALLY] The biggest Social Networks get Personal
- Revisiting Completed blog posts: Underwood Road
- Building Better Buildings
- It’s a great big world out there – where is your cave?
… yada yada yada. I get half a dozen of these every day.
Why does this matter?
Why are people making status updates like this? Perhaps they are bored. Perhaps they are wound up about something – its understandable. Perhaps they don’t even realise that when they like a cat video they share it with all of us.
And what about the blog posts? Firstly of course these people are probably writing stuff because someone has told them it’s a good idea. Perhaps they are getting a lot of ‘eyeballs’. Perhaps they have stopped blogging on their website because they can get more eyeballs when they blog on LinkedIn. But there is a problem.
This crap is making us ANGRY.
Every time you post a status update on LinkedIn it goes in a stream, and people can choose to read it. They can see these in their home feed, or on their mobile device. Standing at a bus stop, waiting for a meeting to start, even on the loo, people can choose whether to look at your stuff. A bit like twitter…
If you post cat videos or motivational quotes here, I can hide your updates, and I don’t have to see any updates from you anymore, which is good for me, and bad for you, because you are now invisible to me. Serves you right for that motivational quote.
By the way, this also happens if you like the motivational quote or the comedy video someone else has shared. Sorry, but there it is. At least I can get rid of you. Social media is after all, opt in and opt out. Thank God.
But I’m not that bothered about the cat video posters; I can get rid of them. The people that make me really angry are the blog posters.
When you post a ‘long form’ or ‘pulse’ post on LinkedIn, you don’t just add it to the home stream of your entire network. You also send a notification to EVERYONE in your entire network. Your ex boss, your potential clients, your former colleagues, your current colleagues, the person you are trying to impress at work. Next time they visit LinkedIn they get your post. So do all the people who aren’t interested in LEDs, or collaboration, or your latest project. It is like you emailed them all. That is SPAM.
Its not as if it is very good spam either. After all, just because everyone can write articles, doesn’t mean we should. Think about it – I’m connected to 2000 interesting useful people on Linkedin. If every one of them blogs once a month the entire system would grind to a halt!
Crap will Kill Linkedin
When I told my friends on Twitter I was writing this blog post, several of them told me they had given up on Linkedin because of the crap. This is really sad, because as you know, LinkedIn is a fantastic business tool. In fact it’s the most used social media platform by construction professionals – over one million of them in the UK alone. I love LinkedIn and like my contacts here, I want it to remain a professional network, one where people behave professionally and ask each other for help.
How to save Linkedin
So here are my top tips for how to save LinkedIn from the deluge of crap.
1. Stop making crap.
Don’t post up crap and don’t interact with it. When you see a motivational quote or a cat video, don’t be tempted to comment ‘is this suitable for LinkedIn?’ you’re just spreading the disease.
2. Turn off the crap.
If you see one of these status updates, hover over it and click ‘Unfollow Tom Smith’ or whoever to unfollow the person who posted it. Then you won’t have to see them anymore. You can also unfollow people who comment – you have been warned!
With blog posts you find unhelpful you can also visit the blog post and unfollow the person. Again, you won’t get any of their updates anymore, even their requests for help with a problem, or news when they move jobs. Their loss.
3. Tell people how you feel about the crap.
Instead of spreading the disease by interacting with these updates, when you see an inappropriate message, send the person a private message, asking them not to post these kinds of updates, and tell them why – because ‘Crap will Kill Linkedin’. You can even show them this post if you like.
4. Use LinkedIn Responsibly.
If you have something useful or valuable to share, post a status update, but stop and think first. Remember that anyone can see it. Will it wind someone up? If so, think twice.
If you have something to share that everyone in your network needs to know, like that you’re moving job, or something that is really important for your industry, by all means write a blog post. But make sure you do it once a month or less, because otherwise we’ll all drown and you’ll be responsible.
That’s it. Please don’t join in with this pernicious infection. Keep the faith. Stop the crap.