I never thought I’d say this, but lately I’ve been enjoying LinkedIn.
Designers have historically scoffed at LinkedIn. I steered clear of it for the same reason I avoid conferences and networking events: I figured anyone there was the stuffy corporate type, trading business cards and buzzwords in ill-fitting suits.
And maybe that was true for a time. But recently, it’s changed.
Just look at the comments sections on LinkedIn posts, where most conversations take place. Compared to every other social network, I see fewer pile-ons or one-upping. I see less posturing and performing. A refreshing absence of long, rabid rants. Zero trolls or bots. It is, somehow, pure.
With exceptions, LinkedIn is starting to feel like Twitter did ten years ago. People aren’t trying so hard. They seem less jaded, more positive. They’re surprisingly engaged.
In 2020, LinkedIn has become the most wholesome social network.
In the early days of Twitter, we didn’t take ourselves so seriously. We were curious, we tried to be funny, and we didn’t worry so much about how we’d be perceived. We just shared what was on our minds, however trivial it may have been.
Scroll deep to someone’s timeline from say, 2009, and you’ll find one-liners like, “Just made some bomb tacos.” Now we’ve gotta have a punchline and get 30k retweets, or we’ve failed. We’d better make our stance known on political issues, or we’re doing it wrong. If I see two people on Twitter today having a positive, genuine one-on-one conversation, it feels almost embarrassing. Twitter’s not the place for sincerity. It’s a place to loudly state your opinion or promote your brand.
LinkedIn today has the innocence I miss from the early days of social media. Perhaps it’s because the platform is still fairly limited. It’s not as easy to jump into a conversation you have no place jumping into. Most of us are “connected” with a relatively small circle of people within a fairly closed-in network. I don’t sense an overreaching algorithm fucking with my sense of time and reality, or intrusive ads disrupting my feed.
Which is not to say it’s perfect. The UI is dismal, and I completely ignore notifications and “recent” posts, which read like spam whether they are or not. I often post my articles and peace out, engaging only when someone chooses to engage with me. Yet I keep coming back.
Maybe we’re all looking for an escape from the negativity of Twitter and the mindlessness of Instagram. Maybe LinkedIn HQ will catch on and learn how to take advantage of its users’ information, maximize engagement and become another platform we hate ourselves for using. Maybe the trolls will discover this little hidden gem and destroy it. We’ll see, and probably soon.
Until then, I look forward to connecting with you.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!