The thing about boundaries is that we have a habit of overstepping them to suit our personal needs. Wars have been waged because borders were not respected, promises are broken, friendships are compromised, and the most famous celebrity couple of all time would not have met if the Montagues had all steered clear of the Capulets. Rules are there for a reason, but it doesn’t mean that they will be respected by everyone.
When we are told “that shouldn’t happen” we look at the situation from our own perspective and say “well, why on earth not?” Someone else’s boundary is not necessarily own boundary.
This is where self-righteousness takes hold, and there is not much more annoying than when someone speaks out to “defend” the rights of the masses when all they are actually doing is defending their own personal point of view. Adopting a commonly held convention and then twisting it for your own purposes is something that happens far too often in the sound bite world of instant communication on the internet.
Thus, I come to the LinkedIn Police. They are the defenders of everything that is “professional networking” and if a meme, graduation picture or personal photo gets anywhere near their feeds, they jump into the fray:
“This isn’t Facebook. Kindly remove this post. This is LinkedIn.”
Ah yes, LinkedIn. Well, with all the changes over the past couple of years, I’m not exactly sure what LinkedIn is either. It is a core rolodex for recruiters to source candidates, but why shouldn’t it contain more personal touches from those candidates? It is a business development tool par excellence, but again, relationships are so important in business, so if your prospect’s daughter has just graduated, why wouldn’t you want to know and congratulate them? This shows that you care. It has turned into a pseudo content repository, but why should people stick to professional topics? Opening up a little and baring your soul never did anyone any harm.
There are enough straight jackets in this world without coming to LinkedIn and being told what to post or what to say. Yes, there is no place for harassment, discrimination, obscene pictures or anything else that is taboo in normal society, but I don’t see why a decent amount of freedom of speech (and action) should be possible?
If you don’t like something, then ignore it. LinkedIn’s equivalent of leaving the room is hiding a certain user’s posts from view. It is easy to do, and it works. I have done it a few times, I must admit. The thing is, when you make a comment that a post is inappropriate, the comment gets seen by your entire network. Multiply this by twenty and it is these messages that are dominating people’s feeds. In my view, that is far more annoying than the original posts.
In a world full of intolerance, this is such a small issue, but every bit of tolerance counts. No LinkedIn is not Facebook, it is whatever we want it to be.