joining linkedin reminds me of obama’s memoir

I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for a few years now but never really fucked with it until this past week, never took a serious shot at networking or finding a job through it, and now that I’m trying to be a little more active, and preparing to integrate myself in the Miami business community, I’m intimidated by its layout. By how complex it seems. 

I’d been hearing Gary Vaynerchuk talk about how LinkedIn is the new Facebook, and I thought he was saying that as a metaphor, but now that I’m here I see that, yeah, it’s more social media than anything else. 

It’s got memes. 

My hope, going forward, is to bring some local businesses into the podcast. Profiles of business owners, maybe, or of certain lines of work. But first I need to know how the platform works. So my plan for now is to play with it. How it works. Who’s doing things that seem like they’d fit the show. (If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!)

I’m pretty interested, too, in seeing how users pitch themselves. It’s so earnest in tone (“Here’s what I’ve done! I wish the very best for you! Can you help me have money?”) but also vaguely dishonest. 

I think.

There’s something plastic about the constant optimism, the pep, the encouragement. 

It was something I felt when reading Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. That kind of writing, if done well, can be pleasant and insightful and feels very sincere–but it also comes off as something of a construct. What I mean is that, while I don’t think the narrator, in that book, is distorting facts, I think he’s presenting himself as someone pointedly clean-cut, with no edges, because–while that image might not be totally authentic–it’s the one that’s easiest for people to process. It’s the persona people are most willing to engage. And when you round those edges off of your presentation, it creates less friction between yourself and other people, which in terms helps to bypass the get-to-know-ya stage and go straight to idea-sharing. 

So I don’t think “inauthentic” is the word; what it seems like, instead, is a muting of the self in order to focus on messaging. 

Which, when it comes to earning one’s livelihood, is a pretty understandable trade-off.

When presented with the choice of paying rant, or being relatable to strangers, most people should choose the former. Here’s my LinkedIn profile, in case you’d like to link up with me there! I’m gonna lurk and linger for a while until I can figure out how to make some content that fits the platform, but I’m hoping to be an active presence soon!

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