Eyeing the clock over his desk, Winston committed to spend a good 30 minutes working on his social media marketing.
Two hours later, he sat back exasperated.
LinkedIn sure has changed, he thought. Formerly a professional network, it seemed to have evolved into more of a “water cooler” hub.
Trying to refocus on his next task, the political argument he’d just had refused to be replaced by any competition.
Still a powerful tool for networking and growing your personal brand, this Big Tech company is playing damage control with a new feature.
But will it be enough to keep more conservative professionals active and engaged?
Recent LinkedIn News
Seven months ago the Big Tech professional network unrolled an option to see less political posts in your feed. It’s presently only available for US users.
Their Help page states,
Currently, political content includes content such as political parties and candidates, election outcomes, and ballot initiatives.
Expect them to further define this as they receive member feedback.
There’s one area of concern related to this however. Research from Zippia’s data science team found LinkedIn employees are predominantly a part of the Democratic party (95%).
With their peers at Facebook and Twitter believed to be censoring viewpoints they don’t agree with, this more professional cousin will need to be transparent with an unbiased outcome.
Probable reason for adding this feature:
- According to Pew Research 55% of social media users say they are worn out by political posts
As this survey was conducted prior to the last U.S. presidential election, one can assume the numbers are much higher nearly 2 years later.
Is It Holding Us Back From Societal Growth?
My business requires me to engage on social media throughout the week. And as my focus is on building and generating revenue to support my family, much of the news is merely a distraction.
But that’s simply my situation.
Those in certain professions like journalism deserve an opportunity for their content to be seen, unless they’re using their words with negative intentions.
We’ll always have differences of opinions and to think that by censoring posts which misalign with “community standards” this will somehow change is foolish.
However, too much politics can pull people away from a building mode and place them in a destroy mode. By that I mean our society will ultimately deteriorate as communication breaks down completely.
Before we go any further, we should look at obstacles to this feature being a positive part of users’ experience.
Difficulty in Defining Political Content
A former employee of the Sunnyvale, CA based company had good advice on when it’s okay to weigh in on these topics.
Daniel Tunkelang said,
I’ve done so on occasion, when I feel it’s relevant to my professional identity.
Small businesses across America have been hit extremely hard by Covid mandates and other constraints. Shouldn’t they be able to write about how it’s affecting their industry, staff, and more?
Of course. Their professional identity isn’t solely limited to popular topics.
What are some examples of businesses that may fall into the category of “political” as defined by the culture?
- Legal firms
- Firearms manufacturers
- Healthcare providers
Saying these business owners can’t advertise or use content marketing because someone might be offended is frankly un-American.
Free Speech Plays a Part
Prior to going freelance, I worked in retail and administrative roles. Guess what? No matter how hard you tried to deliver exceptional customer service, you were never going to please every customer.
Successful business owners have discovered this secret and don’t let critics dictate their path.
Big Tech is made up of private companies but they do have a major influence on our culture. What they choose to show or not show affects our economy and how businesses will fare online.
Free speech means an entrepreneur can weigh in on any topic and the customer votes on whether they agree or disagree with their stance via their wallet.
In our polarized society it happens all the time as companies quickly jump behind popular causes. So if we’re going to ban every business who’s not being “politically correct,” don’t we have to treat everyone equally?
Next we’ll look at the new feature in action.
Trying It Out Myself
In order to practice what I preach I decided to conduct a little experiment. With major news coming out of the Supreme Court the other day, it seemed like a good opportunity to try it.
Results from my feed:
- 4 political posts out of 35 (11%)
Not too bad, unless you factor in my desire not to see ANY. But that’s maybe getting too technical.
There was also an interesting post about a firearms executive being censored on the platform for supporting the 2nd amendment. Here lies a case study proving what I said in the previous section.
That certain industries are unfairly discriminated against on LinkedIn.
Working with the holistic health industry, research and experience has shown their profession to experience this form of adversity as well.
Storms they’ve faced:
Don’t believe me? Start a conversation with an alternative medicine practitioner and ask them about their marketing options.
I want to wrap up by telling you a bit about my professional identity.
Elijah Wordsmith Small Business Writer
My freelance writing business is backed by over 13 years of industry experience between medical and digital marketing. Combining the two allows each original blog or healthcare social media post to resonate with your target audience.
Elijah Wordsmith content writing “verbalizes” the more individualized care current and prospective patients receive from your practice.
With access to modern technology and customer service sharpened while working in busy medical offices, I bring a personable approach to growing your online presence.
Bring the human side back by sharing stories online that impacted you or your staff. And enjoy a boost in patient retention and new referrals for a “practice that truly cares.”
Let’s discuss your main content marketing goal and move your practice towards standing out online!