The rise of social media has created a situation where the line between our personal lives and our professional lives is increasingly blurred, which can lead to a lot of trouble. Since we are the first generation to rely so heavily on the internet, there is no precedent to follow. This unfortunately makes us the lab rats for future generations, who will be able to look back on us and know what not to do. But there are a few things you can do to avoid making yourself a case study for the future.
With over 400 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is one of the biggest social media platforms out there today. But despite the fact that it is a form of social media, LinkedIn is quite different to the other sites out there. While the purpose of most social media is to connect you with friends and family, this is not the case with LinkedIn. Its primary purpose is to help you build a career, and you should bear that in mind any time you’re using it.
Those who use other forms of social media considerably more than LinkedIn often fail to realise that it has a different tone to other sites. In the same way that there are things you might say or do outside of work, there are a lot of things you can post on other social media platforms that should not go on LinkedIn. Memes, pointless status updates, and videos of women laughing hysterically in Chewbacca masks may seem harmless enough, but you’re dragging down the overall quality and professionalism of your profile.
The fact that something is not inappropriate does not make it appropriate for LinkedIn. It is important to remember that you made this profile for work, not fun. While funnier updates might make it more interesting for you, it could make potential employers think that you don’t take work seriously, that you don’t have the right tone for a job or, perhaps worst of all, that you don’t understand the internet.
So what is appropriate for LinkedIn?
Subtle, inoffensive, industry-related humour can be used to increase your activity and engagement with others, without making you look like someone who accidentally wandered over from Snapchat. A good start is to comment on other people’s work, particularly blogs. This can be used to establish and maintain good relationships, and lets people know that you’re engaged with the community and, more importantly, with their work.
Similarly, you can use humour in your own LinkedIn blogs. This is a good route to take, as it gets you engaged with your connections, allows you to show off your industry knowledge, and gives you the chance to show that you can also be funny. A light-hearted, well-informed blog will do much more for you on LinkedIn than a series of random jokes ever will.
LinkedIn may not be part of your job, but it is part of your professional life. While this distinction isn’t as stark online as it is in the real world, it is just as, if not more, important. Your LinkedIn profile reflects how you have chosen to present yourself, so the best advice for mastering your tone is to remember to compare it to your conduct offline, not other social media platforms.