Over the weekend, I read an interesting New York Times article (along with a couple of opinion pieces about the article) that talked about how LinkedIn has earned the distinction of being a controversy-free zone on the social media landscape.
We all know about the dumpster fires that are taking place on Facebook and Twitter. How is it that LinkedIn was able to stay above the fray?
I applaud the creators and managers of LinkedIn for keeping true to their stated mission of “Connecting the world’s professionals to make them more successful and productive.” LinkedIn was able to deliver on this promise by sticking to three dimensions that they believed would add value to their members (source: LinkedIn 2011 annual report):
Professional Identity, which helps professionals connect, find, and be found;
LinkedIn is the most powerful, professionally-oriented search engine on the planet. In becoming a member, you are carving out a piece of digital real estate and creating your professional profile of record. When you need to find someone, connect with someone, do a business deal, or tap professional knowledge, LinkedIn is the place to go.Insights, which help people get the information and knowledge they need to be great at what they do;
A fire hose of unique and valuable information, knowledge, data, and insight flow through the LinkedIn network as a result of our members connecting and sharing.
Our job is to build products that derive information and insights from that data for our members to help them be better at what they do every day.
And Everywhere, which ensures that our platform works wherever our members work, regardless of where they are, on the Web or off.
We live in an age where we can no longer expect our members to be tethered to their desks. We live in a mobile, ubiquitous computer age. LinkedIn is focused on providing members with access to their professional identity and insights wherever they may be -- whether it is on and off the desktop or on and off LinkedIn.com. We know our members will still visit other sites, and we want to continue to scale our API offerings to provide value to our members no matter where they are.
LinkedIn continues to be a safe, professional environment where people can share ideas without the associated venomous replies, the fake news and toxic opinion-shaping from outside audiences, and the useless newsfeed clutter of items ranging from the outrageous to the banal.
I for one applaud LinkedIn for their efforts and making their site a must-visit destination for professionals who are looking to build their professional brand, expand the network, share their thoughts, and look for new opportunities.
Yes, there are problems on LinkedIn. You will get the shameless self-promoters who will connect with you and then want to sell you some digital marketing panacea. You may also get frustrated (especially if you generate content) with how the LinkedIn algorithm works on getting you material in the feeds of your first degree connections and followers. And yes, you also have to tolerate the super-influencers like Gary V who seems to regularly show up in your feed like to guest who refuses to leave.
Despite all this, thank you, LinkedIn, for maintaining a professional environment for professionals to learn, connect, and grow.
How is it that LinkedIn avoided the swamps that have tarnished Facebook and Twitter? Some reasons are:
- The tone and messaging on LinkedIn are what you expect in an office setting. At work, you will never (at least I hope not) hear or read some of the bombastic commentaries that you see on Twitter and Facebook. To their credit, LinkedIn has set the usage guidelines, and expectations that people can respectfully disagree but their criticism needs to be measured, collegial, and relevant.
- Everyone on LinkedIn has a public profile. Everyone’s comments are associated back to their public profile. LinkedIn also is the only social media site where you can see who has viewed your profile.
- LinkedIn members self-police themselves. LinkedIn is a professional public square where future employers, clients, and collaborators will evaluate you based on your activity. Knowing this, almost everyone (we all know at least one bomb-thrower out there) on LinkedIn will work towards being professional and try to add value and insight (versus snark and bile). This helps to mitigate the group pile-on of exaggerated outrage that you see on the other social media platforms.
- Political ads are banned on LinkedIn. Need I say anymore?
- LinkedIn encourages and rewards members who contribute to quality content. I can attest that LinkedIn is the single best social media platform to showcase your ideas, creativity, and analysis. The higher quality of your content will generate increased comments and share. This engagement will then help to get your content in front of more and more people. This process provides strong encouragement to produce great work.
Thanks, LinkedIn for everything that you have done. Your site, despite the complaints, remains the best professional networking and opportunity forum on the planet.