We’re living in some wild times right now. Wild in the sense that life is changing rapidly around us, so fast in fact it can be challenging to keep up with it all. This is certainly the way of the world and what we can expect for the foreseeable future.
While change is inevitable, some change isn’t always for the best. Enter LinkedIn.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of LinkedIn you may be surprised to know it actually went live in May of 2003. You read that right, LinkedIn got started even before YouTube and Facebook. In the beginning LinkedIn’s mission statement was ‘connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful’.
This is the foundation, the bedrock, of what LinkedIn was supposed to be.
Fast forward to today, LinkedIn now owned by Microsoft since 2016, still has this same mission yet the actual user experience of the platform is anything but business focused. A quick scroll down LinkedIn’s running content feed reveals content posted by people and companies covering literally every spectrum imaginable from business, politics, religion, personal pictures and even cat memes. Lots of memes.
This, in my most humble of opinions, is an unfortunate perversion of the platform.
Today there are literally dozens of social media platforms offering us the opportunity to connect, speak our minds, share content while being paper tigers and internet trolls. So why is it LinkedIn keeps going the way of everyone else and allowing content that isn’t business related? It’s lost its competitive advantage. Why also are we as users adulterating this platform making it like all the others?
As a daily user of LinkedIn my soul purpose for using this platform is for business purposes, so naturally this is my bias.
I don’t use LinkedIn for anything else except business and on a daily basis wish that was the case for everyone else on the platform. I’m aware this is a big wish, perhaps colossal. There are dozens of other social communication platforms available for non-business purposes including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, YouTube, Tumblr, QQ, etc. If you want to post something non-business related you have a never-ending list of options at your disposal outside of LinkedIn.
About a year ago I made a personal decision to remove myself permanently from all other social media platforms as I felt like the time I was spending on them, along with the negativity, wasn’t providing good value in my life. Fast forward to today, it’s hard to discern the difference between LinkedIn and other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. This, again in my most humble of opinions, is a sad statement as the idea and original intention of what LinkedIn was supposed to be is a great thing. One which I believe is greatly needed in the world of business.
So here is my ask – please stop using LinkedIn for non-business purposes.
Take your cat memes, politics, religious statements and personal content to Facebook where it belongs.
That being said, in the nicest way I know possible, here’s what I’m not saying in the above statement:
I’m also well aware of the fact that one can simply pass by unwanted content on LinkedIn they don’t like and or remove the connection or hide the content for future purposes. While yes, that is a possible solution it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Hiding or just passing by unwanted content is a form of indifference. E.W. Howe is quoted as saying “The most destructive criticism is indifference”. I agree.
I remain convinced, even more so today, LinkedIn should and must remain focused solely on business. No exceptions.
If you feel the same way about removing non-business content on LinkedIn I ask you to join me in using this hash tag any time you see content that isn’t business related.
Perhaps over time we can turn the tides and get this platform back to the way it was intended to be – for business purposes only.
Be well & live wisely.
Remember life before the internet? What about the smartphone? If you grew up pre 2000’s you know exactly what life was like before technology forever changed the way we interact with others, work, play and pastime. I remember the days of doing research papers in school and having to use the card catalog system in the library to search out information. It was agonizing and tedious, but hey, it’s all we knew or had for that matter. Technology has certainly enabled us to be much more efficient in many aspects of our lives. As we’ve grown in our use of technology so have the side effects that come from our technology dependency in the office and at home, especially with our smartphones.
The side effects I speak of, impatience and declining interpersonal skills, directly impact an incredibly important part of our being - our peace of mind.
People have become increasingly more impatient than they’ve ever been. I know because I’m one of them. The golden rule in business back in the day was to return a phone call within 24 hours. Today, if we don’t get a response in 30 minutes we think the person on the other end is avoiding us or must not have received our call. We then resort to a whole list of communication outreach shenanigans, frantically trying to get a response by texting, Facebooking, IG-ing, LinkedIn Messenger, emailing from three different addresses and blasting off SnapChats. Sound familiar?
The result of our increased impatience is a heightened level of stress. When we’re stressed the last thing on our minds is peacefulness which leads to bad decision making, mistakes and a decline in our health. Stress is the real McCoy here as over 75% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments.
Our interpersonal skills are also experiencing side effects of smartphones and their associates technologies. At an alarming rate we’re focused on the technology in front of us rather than the people and experiences we’re surrounded by. Ever been to a restaurant and see a couple facing one another, not saying a word, both eating ferociously while they text and bounce from one social media app to the next? An entire meal goes by with little more said than ‘pass the guac’. Parents at playgrounds are absorbed into their phones while their kids play about unaware that mom and dad are more interested in the scrolling unyielding stream of meme’s and picture perfect vacation images of strangers rather than their own kids development and experiences. Our conversations and relationships suffer because we are fixated on what is happening in the world thousands of miles away rather than what’s right in front of us.
Folks, it’s not a pretty picture. Smartphones, while useful in many ways, have had a dramatic change on the way we operate.
While I know the above to be true, I’m also an addict. Like many of you reading this I too am addicted to the never ending stream of nonsense on my phone. Yesterday a good friend of mine encouraged me to do a little test, one that I’ve jumped into wholeheartedly. As I write this article I’m 24 hours into a social media hiatus. I’m going for a month off, then from there I’ll evaluate how my life is for better (my hunch is this will be the case) or for worse without social media. I’ve deleted all social media apps from my smartphone and am excited to experience an existence without those distractions.
I encourage you to join me in a month of social media/ smartphone hiatus.
Use these five techniques to unplug so you can start enjoying life in the moment:
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.