I’ve come to realise I don’t dread many things. I don’t dread work, even when I don’t enjoy it, I know the period will pass. I don’t dread home, more people dread this than you think, I don’t. I don’t dread the next football fixture; sports are a great outlet for many things, but they can also cause stress and dread, not me. I don’t dread chores, including washing up the pans after a monster Simon cooking (use of every pot in the kitchen) session.
How and when did I realise this dread free existence?
Bizarrely it was the reality that I was starting to dread something, which led to the realisation these were new feelings for me.
So, what is it that I have started to dread?
I am a relatively long term LinkedIn user. I was first shown and effectively given a crash course on what very much felt like a ‘new platform’ by a forward-thinking colleague called Stuart Lindenfield in late 2008. I was a National Account Manager, responsible for the recruitment contracts for some large brands, Stuart attended a team meeting, to tell us all about virtual networking via LinkedIn. Networking I was familiar with, I had been to many events, put my name tag on, grabbed either the obligatory bacon roll, or beer, and dived straight in. Remember those days?! LinkedIn was going to replace all of this, it would allow us to connect and network with people, without the stress, anxiety, and dread which went with traditional networking.
So, what were my initial thoughts of this new platform? I’ll be honest, I headed back to Euston after the session with Stuart, bought my usual ‘treat’ of a Marks and Spencer gin in the tin and bag of nuts for my journey back to Liverpool, and I thought ‘this will never take off.’ The platform looked good, it was obviously easy to use, clear, and clean, but online, virtual professional networking?! No chance.
Fast forward ten years, and let’s be honest, I could not have been more wrong.
It turns out not for the first time, my post meeting gin in a tin hazed train journey, saw me absolutely get it wrong. LinkedIn it turns out would take over the professional world, I would go on to personally enjoy using the platform, and it would become arguably one of the most important tools for everyone working across the staffing and recruitment sector.
This was a reality I could not disagree with by late 2018. I was converted.
Like many products and services LinkedIn has changed a lot in the near thirteen years I have been using it. The front of the platform still looks fundamentally the same, which is amazing when you think about it, but how it’s used and by who could not be more different. The lesser talked about backend ‘LinkedIn recruiter’ however really has changed the game.
Being clear, I could not be a bigger fan of LinkedIn Recruiter; the paid for search and messaging function which many across the recruitment and staffing sector pay annually to use. It’s the primary tool we use at Digital 51 for example, every member of the team has access to the system from their first day in the business. Apart from our own CRM/community work, LinkedIn Recruiter is the most effective tool we have in our toolbox
So, if I have such a long standing relationship with LinkedIn, and I am such an advocate of the Recruiter platform, then what is it I actually dread about LinkedIn?
The Linked ‘feed’ is what I dread.
Whilst I am a big believer that change is good, the changes to how people use the LinkedIn feed, and how I access this feed, fills me with dread.
What is causing this dread?
Firstly, I am the first to admit, I have a mild LinkedIn feed addiction. Whilst I tell myself this is ‘mild,’ it has no doubt gotten worst over the last 18 months. Like millions of people I have the LinkedIn app on my phone, so whether it be whilst having my morning cup of tea, whilst sat on a train, or just at any point I ‘need’ to see what’s happening in the world, I press that little icon. This I have come to realise has very much become a habit, and it’s too much information to take in.
Then there is the LinkedIn automation crew. Automated LinkedIn posting is used by many people, for a range of reasons, and I would argue to a varying degree of success. I get it, it’s easy to use, ‘saves time,’ but for me, it changes my user experience, and nine times out of ten you can tell things are automated; this does not feel authentic. I get the logic of improved time management obviously, but is this another example of where we ‘need’ to save time, so we can waste it on other things?
I used to love the genius of content and ideas that spanned my professional network, and that of others, who were connected to people I’m connected to. Over the years these ideas have fed my creativity and inspired action. Since launching Digital 51 the ability to post video, interesting content, and visual information has helped establish our business. This would not have been as easy without LinkedIn, however something has changed on the feed. The LinkedIn feed feels like it is getting more and more extreme; content, and comments feel like they are there to divide, not bring people together, or share ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I love a debate! If anything I believe that debate is good for business and the world, but this now feels different, this feels like a ‘them and us’ mentality. Don’t believe me? Just check out any LinkedIn post which debates work from home v work from an office.
Then we have the tidal wave of ‘everything is brilliant’ posts going on across the world of LinkedIn updates right now. Or if everything is not OK, not to worry, there is the much favoured, ‘after losing everything, quitting everything, and starting again with only a laptop and my last fiver, I have turned my life around and now I feel happier than ever’ post.
Speaking personally, the start to 2022 has been hard, very hard. It turns out the first year of a start-up is not the hardest year. It turns out starting is the easy bit, but the second year of a start-up, you know, the second album, the second season, that for me has been hard. I will write about this too on another day, but for the purpose of this article, previously my LinkedIn feed would have helped me during a period of challenge. Maybe shown me others are feeling the same, or given me some ideas, that is no longer the case. Instead, I dread pressing the refresh button of my LinkedIn feed and seeing more stories of everyone else being the most successful version of themselves, ever. I feel judged for finding things hard.
Maybe it’s me that’s the problem, maybe it’s the challenge of 2022 that has led to me viewing things differently, but surely there can be no debate, the LinkedIn feed has changed?
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, it’s time for some changes regarding how and why I view my LinkedIn feed.
These are the changes I am making with immediate effect:
- No LinkedIn feed before 8am or after 7pm – Whilst I don’t follow a traditional working hours pattern, I can’t hand on heart say I am gaining anything from continual updates.
- Remembering why I am using the LinkedIn feed – I used to look for ideas, I used to look for content, now I am just scrolling to see what other people are saying. This is not helpful.
- Be me – It’s hypocritical to moan about other people’s updates and glowing life stories, but not to post the challenges I am really facing. Time for that to change.
- It’s time for a cull – I am sorry, but I need to stop following some people, disconnect, and inject some fresh life into my lifeline.
The above might not seem life changing or revolutionary to you, but for me, if I stick to these, then I hope to lose the dread that has come over me when it comes to something I historically have enjoyed.
How will this change go? Don’t worry, I will pop an update on LinkedIn in the coming months to tell you all………..
This article was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51. Do you agree with Simon, has your view and use of LinkedIn changed in a post pandemic world? Drop Simon an e-mail and tell him your thoughts on this at