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Is There Room for Emotion on LinkedIn?



Social media is going through a much needed transformation at the moment. With users now willing to share their struggles whether it be through photo-based apps, blogging or vlogging, users are becoming more transparent and this is leading to higher engagement, particularly among their peers. But LinkedIn doesn’t seem to have caught up yet and here are some of the reasons why:

Social Media Consists of Users’ ‘Best Bits’

Social media has been described as a ‘highlight reel’, particularly photo-based social such as Instagram. And while this makes perfect sense, it can work to ostracize the people on the other side of your posts.   

Everyone wants to see something they can relate to. While LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily advertise itself as a place to show off your assumed ‘failures’, it’s reassuring to see emotionally motivated, even personal posts every once in a while! The fear of sharing things not deemed ‘acceptable’ on social media is widening the gap between the publisher and the reader, which can in turn push potential followers away.


There Is in Inherent Fear of Showing Emotion in Business

Let’s be real, everyone has cried in the office toilets at one stage or another… Right? Emotion is something that is now seen throughout Instagram feeds through photos of crying users, photos of mental health struggles etc. and these are the posts that I personally find myself resonating with the most. These are the posts that allow people to bond over shared struggles, to give each other advice and to really encourage people to reach out to one another.

On LinkedIn, there is none of that. And that’s understandable as LinkedIn is a social media platform for business. But business and emotions are not mutually exclusive. It’s healthy to show, or even just to feel your emotions and putting them on display can often lead to an outpouring of support and provide a way to show your followers that you are only human, just like them.


The Fear of Showing Your ‘Failures’ in Business Is Real!

Failures, or perceived failures, are what make you human and help you to learn. They are also ways to relate to other people through shared experience.

There is nothing quite like telling your friend something awful or embarrassing that happened to you while you were working and having them respond with ‘Oh I know that one!’. In a world where we are so saturated with perfect images and messages on social media, relatability and sincerity is always something that people are drawn to.


Fear of Sharing Personal Opinions/Fear of Being Judged

Here’s the thing, anxiety statistics are through the roof in our society at the moment. As someone with anxiety, trust me, I understand. Millenials diagnosed with anxiety disorders are almost double that of baby boomers. And with that comes a fear of being judged negatively. Due to this, many people are deterred from sharing their personal opinions or feelings and this shuts down many a dialogue, often before it even begins. So learning opportunities are often lost. This leads to further isolation for people on social media.

It’s a good thing to share your opinions! It’s an opportunity to be supported, challenged, and to learn. And this can be extremely beneficial for business.


Forced Comparison

This comes back to the ‘highlight reel’ theory. While Instagram incites comparison over the physical body, LinkedIn tends to force comparison between employment positions, skills and overall success. While an element of comparison may encourage and drive people, it can also stunt the growth of ideas and breed negativity and more false representation.

We need to be learning from each other while keeping in mind that we are all inherently different people with different struggles going on behind what we share online.


So my takeaways here are as follows:

1. Nothing that you see on social media is 100% real. Of course it is a compilation of users best bits because everyone wants to put their best self forward.

2. Authenticity is what people want to see! This is how viewers will relate to you and your brand and build affiliations and a loyal following.

3. Your humanity doesn’t disappear once you clock in. That’s one of the perks of not being a robot! While business may call for tough decisions and awkward encounters, we can share these moments and in turn realise that most people experience the same things we do. We need to find more areas to relate to each other and share our experiences because the world is divided enough right now as it is.