Just over a year ago, I asked my community of online readers if they are active on LinkedIn.
That question’s objective is clear. Are you showing up on the world’s largest professional network so everyone knows what you do and how you can help them or their business?
You know, for networking, client lead generation, and all that.
But then, this month, shortly after my 40th birthday, I deleted my LinkedIn account.
I kid you not.
Simply put, I changed my mind about being on LinkedIn.
I’m sharing my honest thoughts and reasons with you should you be interested. This is not to put down anyone else who chooses to be on LinkedIn. If you like and enjoy LinkedIn, wonderful, I’m happy for you (really, I am). So if that’s you, please read the article with an open mind.
These are my reasons. I have the right to them.
Being on LinkedIn does not align with my values
I grew more and more uncomfortable by the conversations on LinkedIn.
I’m a business owner who cares about my work but with a more integrative balanced approach. To me, LinkedIn is not where I hire people, get clients or even connect with people. Simply because it shows me the job titles and merits before the actual person.
Do you also dislike conversations that begin with “so, what do you do?”. I care to know if you like poetry in your everyday life – the way the leaves float in the air creating stanzas. I want to know what you do in your spare time, your hobbies and habits.
This speaks volumes about your values. And also tells me more than your CV or who you work for, or where you graduated from.
So you see, I am allergic to a one-dimensional view of life. I get rashes all over my skin just thinking about it.
Let it be clear – I’m not complaining. As a life coach who encourage clients to feel good about their accomplishments, I know there’s a place for this. But when claps are in favour of promotions, badges of honor, and Forbes features then it makes me sad. I am sad. It is a skewed and unhealthy definition of ‘professional success’.
Because (many are unaware) these claps, emojis, ‘like’ buttons are rewiring our brains. They are another form of how society seeks to push us to do-do-do and ‘rewards’ those who perform and produce more. At what cost, is the silent question.
The harder you work, the more you add to your resume = the greater you are. That’s the message I feel is out there on LinkedIn.
The saddest part is perhaps the numerous posts on LinkedIn of people tooting their own horns. They too are not at fault – it’s the system. It’s the platform itself that slowly trains us to do more of this. These are the kind of posts that get seen, getting hundreds of applauses and claps.
My LinkedIn account no longer served me
There was a time where LinkedIn fit in my life.
Need a job? Best place to look for opportunities. Update your status to ‘looking’. And vice versa – that is, if you’re looking to hire staff.
But I’m not looking for more jobs, more clients, more money. I have my marketing systems, my client generating system that work for me, using a simple process that works for me. I don’t need to do MORE.
In fact, I want to do less. I want less.
Less posting, less messages in my ‘inbox’ (wherever the inbox is). I want less
strangers 2nd and 3rd connections approaching me to talk about work and my rates and to ‘send them a proposal’. It’s no longer how I work as a business owner who knows there’s a simpler, more gentle (hello automation) way to get money & clients.
It is not good for my mental health
In my first reason, I mentioned growing sad.
If being on LinkedIn exposes me to the harsh reality that 774+ million people (that’s how many use it) all praise the work-more-do-more-produce-more, I cannot and do not want to be consuming that sort of content.
It’s not good for my mental health.
Fortunately, I recognised the signs quickly enough. Each time I logged into LinkedIn, after seeing 1-2 posts, heaviness filled my heart. I left uninspired, sad, and fatigued.
You can say maybe I connected with the ‘wrong’ type of people. However, I’ve added people I know (and some I don’t) from my first job in 1999 to now 2021. This is a great varied mix!
If nobody’s post inspires me – ranging from hotel employees to coaches to business CEOs, COOs and CFOs – I must leave.
Going forward, what should you do?
This is ultimately a personal decision. One you need to make after careful consideration. LinkedIn may be a platform that is a useful tool for reaching some of your goals. In that case, continue using it. However, if you resonate with any of my reasons, you might be willing to deactivate your account too.
At the end of the day, for me I maintain my principle of doing Social Media with Heart. It’s my personal signature framework by which I can use social media and internet in general without getting sucked in. I’ve shared it in the form of a digital course with dozens more people so they can have more freedom and not get addicted or drained. You can learn more here.