Why LinkedIn has a problem with spam, not oversharing

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

“LinkedIn Has Turned Into a Place for Oversharing”The New York Times Sunday Business Section print edition headline, Sept. 18, 2022.

“’This isn’t Facebook,’ users gripe,” reported the NYT in its article.  Yet, “Others value talking about more than work.”

What’s your reaction?

As for me, I’m one of the “others” who appreciate LinkedIn as a valuable place to post,  comment, and reflect about life, which includes work.

Why? Our work and personal lives are more interconnected than ever before in our almost post-pandemic world. (In a news briefing last week, World Health Organization officials said the global COVID-19 pandemic may be nearing its end.) Plus, the boundaries between “office” and “home” can be fuzzy, whether they’re the same place or different locations.

Consider the 24/7 seamless interconnections we experience. Our devices make it easier to connect with friends, family, and co-workers at all times of the day and night. And during this time, aren’t you concerned about your mental health as a human being, regardless of the particular role you’re playing as well as social issues? And if you’re traveling again, you may be combining work and pleasure on your trips, like many of us are doing.

And look who’s on LinkedIn now. Over the past few years, many professionals who focus on the whole human or specialize in specific parts, such as mental health, exercise, and work/life integration, are now regularly posting valuable content on LinkedIn.

Plus, in my situation as the human member of a therapy dog team, I can get real-time updates from the general to the specific about the volunteer work Marcel the therapy dog and I do. That’s because the individual who leads the MUSC therapy dog program posts interesting updates on all things related to animal-assisted therapy.

LinkedIn also allows you to follow whoever you want. Then it’s up to you as well as each user to decide what to pay attention to in your feed. So if you don’t like certain content, disregard it.

What’s harder to ignore are the micropreneurs chasing all of us coaches, consultants, and other small businesses on LinkedIn. Any new batch of LinkedIn messages includes at least one (usually more) ingratiating offer to join somebody’s network, subscribe to a newsletter, attend a webinar or program, buy services, etc., such as:

  • “I’m always looking for good people in the coaching space to connect with. I see that you are a coach. I’d love to connect and learn from your experiences. Thank you!!”
  • “I’m looking to grow my network of incredible coaches like yourself and would love to connect with you. Having a professional like you in my network will be a plus.”
  • “I’m helping other experts like you add an extra $20k – $50k/a month to their business using email lists. I’ve just helped a coach sell more copies of his online program to make him $7,235 in our first week of working together.”

Do these messages fit your definition of spam? To me, they’re classic spam — irrelevant, unwanted, unsolicited digital communication that’s primarily advertising.

And worse, these messages often put their senders in the worst possible light. Why would anyone want to hire “professional” marketers who show just as or more interest in themselves than the individuals whom they’re trying to sell to? That’s how I interpret those who want me to increase the size of their LinkedIn network.

As for those who desire me to super-size my monthly income overnight, don’t they look at my profile and postings first? You’d think they’d notice that I’m focused on customized services for individuals, as in bespoke, not off-the-shelf for the masses. But then again, spammers aren’t interested in nuance.

The upshot? LinkedIn has a spam problem, not an oversharing problem. While writing this post, I realized all the spammers kept me preoccupied on deleting their requests that I forgot to toot my own horn about receiving an award last month, the one featured in the picture above. I remembered when trying to decide what photo to use with this post. Oh well. Here’s hoping the value of sharing will continue to outweigh the nuisance of dealing with spam.

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