I read an interesting piece in the Star Tribune over the weekend from recruiter Isaac Cheifitz asking “will sharing more personal posts on Linkedin hurt you?”
That column hit on a topic that’s coming up more and more on LinkedIn: Should you be sharing personal content on a platform that’s clearly designed for the professional community?
It seems like Isaac doesn’t agree with the notion of sharing more personal updates on LinkedIn. One quote in particular seems to hint at his take: “But ultimately, over time, taking strong stances on ideological issues on a business-centric platform such as Linkedin will result in people making moral, even moralistic judgements of their peers.”
Now, not all personal posts hit on ideological issues–but, many do. Isaac seems to be saying, “if you have stances on political or societal issues, you may want to think twice about sharing them since people are always judging you.”
I have a different stance–and it’s one that’s changed over the last couple years, in particular.
I believe personal posts DO have a spot on LinkedIn. Not in huge doses, mind you. But, I do think it’s OK (or, even preferred in my view) to share a bit about your personal life on LinkedIn.
Why? I see a few key reasons.
Number one, as Isaac says in the article, the lines between professional and personal have increasingly become blurred over the last 10-15 years. I might argue the line is completely gone in 2022. Now, that notion might resonate differently depending on your age. Boomers may still see a strong line between work and personal life, whereas Gen Z brings its whole self to work. I’m a whole self guy–and I see a lot of value in showing that whole self on LinkedIn, too.
Second: Sharing updates on LinkedIn about your personal and ideological views could end up scoring you a job (or a client). Case in point: I recently talked about my trip to St. Thomas/St. John on LinkedIn (as well as some of my other all-time favorite vacation spots). This led to a discussion with a potential client a few days later where we shared our love of the USVI. And over the last number of years, I’ve noticed similar sentiments when I share a more personal post. It’s a point of connection. And that can be a powerful thing for those looking for a new job (or clients) on LinkedIn.
Finally: Personal content, by way of this very argument, is different on LinkedIn. So, it stands out. The lion’s share of content on LinkedIn, on any given day, is still thought leadership, jobs and company promotion. But, if you browse your feed each day, you’ll always note a handful of more personal posts. Now, today when you do that, notice the engagement level on those posts. In my feed, they are almost always much higher than an average post for that person. Monica Wiant is a perfect example. She recently posted about being laid off and what she was feeling during that time. It was a pretty vulnerable post for her–a personal post (even though it was about work, in a way). That post generated almost 500 likes and almost 50 comments–well above what Monica’s more professional content sees.
So, do personal posts have a place on LinkedIn? I say, confidently, “yes”–but in smaller doses. To me, LinkedIn has always been a platform that reflect not just our working self, but our whole self. I think it makes sense to put your whole self out there on LinkedIn, at least as much as your comfortable with.