LinkedIn Influencers: Please, Stop.
Fake inspirational stories and forced advice do not impress anyone
Influencers are not a new concept in our social-media-centered world. Whether on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, that little blue verified checkmark makes everyone’s heart flutter a little.
So I guess it shouldn’t be shocking that LinkedIn is hopping on the trend.
I mean, you would think that individuals frequenting a professional networking site would be immune to the superficiality of being an internet sensation just for the sake of… being an internet sensation.
But I guess by that same logic, when you have a group of highly ambitious individuals who want to have some claim to fame, they’ll find a way.
I guess being a “LinkedIn Influencer” is how high ranking professionals can live their dreams of being a social media sensation in a socially acceptable way.
I am the first to admit that Linkedin is an insanely valuable tool. I really like networking and meeting new people. And I’m a huge fan of content. For the most part, I actually really enjoy inspirational stories and advice.
For that reason, scrolling through LinkedIn posts used to be one of my favorite things. I remember a few years back, I would use LinkedIn as an authentic lens into the real lives of people.
I wish I could say the same nowadays.
I still love a good post with original content that comes from the heart. Unexpected obstacles-turned-advice and genuine feel-good stories get me every time. And when people use their networks to help others find opportunities… well it helps me restore my faith in humanity.
It’s just unfortunate that I have to scroll through so much BS to find that.
Yesterday, a candidate came to her interview ten minutes late.
I interviewed her anyway.
She had a resume gap from maternity leave but I trusted my gut and hired her.
Today she is one of my best employees.
*insert inspirational quote here*
I don't know how many times I’ve seen that same post on LinkedIn in the past year. Sometimes people put a bit of effort in. Sometimes it’s another variation of a late interviewee or a candidate with a resume hole.
Other times people don’t even try. I will literally read a word-for-word copy of a post I saw one week earlier.
Tell me what the point of that post is? What are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to impress?
To the interviewer who actually had that experience and first posted about their empathy, good on you. Thanks for showing human decency and for sharing this story.
To everyone else, are you really stealing someone else’s story just so you can “influence”?
Don't tell me you think it’s an important message because guess what... there is a share button on every post. And don’t use the excuse that you actually had a similar experience, because why is it that you never shared it before? Was it not cool enough before? And now that a similar post is going viral, you want to get those pats on the back too?
You’re like those people who follow a parade in hopes that some of the fanfare will drip down to you.
Please stop blocking the road. There are cars trying to drive through. If you really want a parade for yourself, how about you do something yourself that makes people want to cheer for you.
Honestly, it’s kind of cute. It’s kind of cute how high ranking professionals can look down at 17-year-old girls who will do anything to be TikTok famous when they are just as hungry for clout.
If you think the stupid dances they hope will go viral are more embarrassing than reposting unoriginal content you stole from a self-help book — or worse, someone else’s post — think again.
At least that teenager knows they are making a fool of themselves… which seems to be a realization you have yet to make.
You can smile in your business attire. You can call yourself an influencer. You can add #network #teamwork #diversity to your posts. No matter how professional your post looks, most people can see through your BS.
Most people can detect that your copied and uninspired content is just an attempt at fame and influence, wrapped in a socially acceptable business suit.
After all, do you genuinely think that we believe you have an uplifting life-changing interview with this one-of-a-kind underdog candidate every day? Spoiler alert, I don’t think anyone does.
If you have an uplifting story, tell it. If you have a cautionary tale or a lesson you think someone will learn from, share it. If you need help or want to promote something, do it. After all, that’s what LinkedIn is for.
However, I just have one request:
The world is so full of superficial, fabricated weaves that it is so easy to get stuck in the fluff. We see the lives of others through posts that represent just snapshots of their lives.
And I’m beginning to think that these posts are no longer even snapshots of our lives. They are snapshots of fantasy lives (lies?) that we like to fabricate.
If you had imposter syndrome before trying to live up to the best parts of the lives of others, well good luck keeping up when your role model is nothing but a fantasy persona.
LinkedIn influencers, I just have one thing to say:
If you really want to improve the lives of others and help them make strides in their lives, start writing things from the heart and stop vomiting content for the sake of being an “influencer.”
It’s quite frankly the best influence you can give.