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Anyway, that's enough about me - now let's talk about what you think about me

Opinion

At the risk of damaging his own personal brand, Michael Blucher is humbled to ask whether LinkedIn has become just a tad too much of a vanity exercise

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You may have seen it doing the rounds on social media – the mock Linkedin post penned by a bloke clearly chuffed with his latest achievement, and eager to share it with his on-line audience.

“I am honoured to announce that having been selected among just five applicants to sit a searching professional examination, I’ve passed with distinction,” he wrote. “Given my newly acquired qualifications, and accumulative experience in overcoming vexing career issues, I look forward with enthusiasm to embracing the exciting opportunities ahead. I’m humbled by all the support I’ve received, and comfortable in the knowledge that I’m now on the road to success.”

Yep, in case you’re in any way confused by the hyperbole, he got his licence.

Linkedin – It’s an increasingly interesting forum, isn’t it?.

Supposedly Facebook for grown-ups, professional people at work not play, but there’s enough evidence to suggest this is not entirely accurate.

Particularly the “grown up” part.

Not that I’ve ever devoted a huge amount of time to scouring pages and profiles, but I’ve always enjoyed the shared business insights – the tips and tricks that make us all better leaders and practitioners.

I even don’t mind the the odd random invitation to connect with somebody in an allied field.

As we tell our kids – everybody’s fighting their own battles … don’t be afraid to give a stranger a helping hand every now and then. How can it hurt? Perhaps one day the karma bus will swing by, pick you up and take you on free ride to somewhere nice? And if not – a good deed, no harm done.

More recently however, I’ve started to notice a change in some of the content. Less “hey, have you thought of this?” and more “hey look at me”.

Perhaps I’m imagining it. Perhaps it’s just me looking in the wrong place at the right time.

Or perhaps it’s a sign of the times? A bit of Covid-related cabin fever – professionals boxed in at home, with less face to face contact, and fewer social outings where they get to posture and peacock about.

They’re left with little alternative but to do their “marketing” and “personal brand positioning” through LinkedIn.

Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s start with the prevalence of the word “humbled”. Without even looking, I stumble on it every time I log on.

Humbled to be asked to represent… humbled to provide the key note address at… humbled to be asked to join… humbled to be awarded… humbled to be selected…” Humbled, humbled, humbled!

Here’s the thing – if you were really humbled, you wouldn’t be bragging about it to your 1483 connections, would you? You’d be tucked away in your office, working, or heaven forbid, adding the finishing touches to that key-note address you’ve been asked to deliver.

As an aside, do you think those who are “humbled” really think we’re impressed? Regardless of the flurry of sycophantic commentary posted in response? .“Good on you Kristen. Nailed it again, Awesome. Congrats!!!!!!!!”

No. Fan girl probably hates Kristen, and can’t begin to understand why she was asked to deliver the key note address.

Wearing my “grumpy middle aged man” hat for a few moments more, the other major “foot fault” – rarely called – is the posting on Linkedin of photos with “famous” people.

These updates invariably start with “honoured” or “privileged”, but beyond that, contribute little to melting pot of meaningful business dialogue.

Again, personal preference in play here, but it might be worth the culprits pausing and reflecting – twice in fact – before sending these out into cyberspace.

Or they could keep them for Facebook? Every chance images of reflected glory would fit in rather nicely in the forum.

In a broader sense, it’s comforting, and at the same time, a little scary, that there’s now a whole industry of social media experts, guiding business owners through the strategic on line promotion of their services and “personal brands”.

Some great work being done, no doubt, but on the assumption that most people see Linkedin as a tool for broadening their business network (as well as of course staying abreast of developments), we need to remember one thing. Practically all new relationships (and subsequent business opportunities) come from face to face contact. Human connection. Trust.

And at the risk of being labelled a cynic, I question what role photos with famous people, and sentences that start with “honoured” and “humbled” are ever going to play in fast-tracking human connection and trust.

 

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