First Look: Polywork
A portfolio and stream based alternative to LinkedIn.
I have avoided LinkedIn for years, maybe since it was launched, actually. It seemed a community dominated by ‘upward-striver’ dynamics, where I receive people eager to aggressively create ‘connections’ with me instead of the more organic pattern of following and commenting that I love in blogging and Twitter.
It seems that LinkedIn has been changing, and maybe for the worse, since the pandemic started, as Lora Kelley reports:
LinkedIn, which was started in 2003, was first known primarily as a place to share résumés and connect with co-workers. It later added a newsfeed and introduced ways for users to post text and videos. The site now has more than 830 million users who generate about 8 million posts and comments every day.
Since the start of the pandemic, as office workers missed in-person interactions with colleagues, many people turned to LinkedIn to help make up for what they had lost. They started talking about more than just work. The boundaries between office and home lives became blurrier than ever. As personal circumstances bled into workdays, people felt emboldened to share with their professional peers — and found interested audiences both in and beyond their networks.
It appears that LinkedIn has become ‘Instagrammed’, and is no longer just about looking for opportunities or people to hire. The metaphor I’ll use is that Linkedin has moved from an experience like standing in line at a job fair and occasionally chatting about work, now it’s more like a job fair happy hour where people are swapping stories about depression, desires, and their side hustles, all the while hoping to gain a huge following in the professional equivalent of Facebook.
Definitely not my scene.
So I was pleasantly intrigued by a recently launched alternative platform (which perhaps makes it sound too similar to LinkedIn) called Polywork. The service is a community for professionals, based on the design metaphor of a portfolio of projects, interests, affiliations, and connections, presented in a feed-centric design.
Here’s my Feed, the series of posts from people and things I am following: