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To begin at the beginning

I know. I know! Who the hell poses a question like that? Is LinkedIn Worse Than Facebook? Who can say? Or, as my great auntie, Werner von Braun might have said, “If you are dumb enough to ask such a question, then you will surely be too stupid to understand a credible answer”.

I have seen it a lot over the years, perfectly irrational people posing perfectly cogent and simple questions, and then not being able to answer those questions themselves. It is good to see logic and good sense prevail, even if the observables are marginally more surreal than mundane.

Now me. I quite despise the whole Facebook shtick, but because so many of family, friends an acquaintances use it, I feel almost compelled to be there, even if in spirit only. It doesn`t help either that some of the founders of the social media biz had and have such goddam awful personalities, scummy little twerps for which adjectives such as nasty, mean-spirited and ruthlessly exploitative don’t even begin to give one a good picture.

But, do I think that LinkedIn is worse than Facebook?

A bit like your favourite grandma telling a very rude joke, the number one reason is quite simple. Just as no one expected The Inquisition, so no one expects LinkedIn to be worse than Facebook, and when the realization hits the fan, it’s even more alarming, because in no small part, it’s so unexpected. Whereas when it comes to Facebook, no one expects any better, so it doesn’t disappoint, at least, not to anything like the same degree.

Students of Seneca will realise straight away that this is the case, and even understand why it’s such a more disappointing experience to be mugged by social media that seems to be used by professional and ethical people like us, which creates a false sense of security and an expectation that quite often results in serial disappointment and disenchantment.

But, clearly this is not going well.

I can tell I´m not getting far with the angle I adopted for this piece. I know that because I tried this approach at a consulting gig quite recently at a theatre in Barcelona, and although a small part of the crowd quickly got what I was trying to convey, albeit they were an intelligent and radical underground, the majority just looked at me, like a happy-pack of expectant puppies waiting for the magic word. Therefore, I expect you are doing the very same thing right now.

Am I right, or am I right?

I probably have a flawed, jaded and perhaps overly-severe notion of concepts such as professionalism, ethics and quality of life, an outlook that also finds resonance in my views on professional social media and online networking, and those who plumb these depths.

Everyone can lie, cheat, misrepresent, trick, fool and befuddle, but I prefer to think that as professionals we could also do the same, in our own interests, but that we consciously chose not to.

Which is why I am appalled by those self-styled professionals who go out of their way to give misleading, erroneous and harmful advice on a wide range of subjects. When this happens down the pub it’s to be taken with a huge pinch of salt. When people use what is ostensibly taken as a serious professional networking site and experts’ platform to deceive, beguile and scam those who know no better.

What about the motivational advice that will drag peoples’ moral down to the level of their shoe laces?

What about the leadership advice that will get people into hot water and possibly get them fired?

What about bamboozling bullshit babblers who use their faux-expertise to railroad the susceptible, gullible and impressionable into committing, time money and effort to embrace crack-pot ideas and embrace untenable projects?

What about the detritus that glibly sells delusional bullshit and harmless fantasy as liberation, career-advancing and life-changing?

Why is it that economic power, military power, matchless arrogance, wilful ignorance and cultural imperialism go hand in hand?

Take another look yourself if you don’t believe me. Look at the leadership pieces, the motivational pieces, the life-style pieces, the sports pieces, the cracker-barrel racist, sexist and classist shit flogged as legitimate political opinion. Dig deep. Embrace thought and reason. Learn or hone critical thinking. Then you too will be able to ask the searching questions, if you aren’t doing so already. Get in there and ask! What is this bullshit? How the hell am I going to speak with my boss, me partner, my children, etc. like that without really losing out? Why is Big Data for everyone? Why should I care about IoT? What in the name of Sam Adams is my personal data doing on the Cloud? What the fuck do those who live cocooned in their self-imposed ‘Culture of Contentment’ know about my problems, my difficulties, my family, my family and friends, my community and my world?

Is there anything else?

However, not all is lost, and you can continue in the world of social media without exposing yourself to any nasty surprises. The solution is easy. Either do not partake or set your expectations very low, especially in the case of the hype and bullshit infested networks.

Still don’t see it?

In that case, just ask yourself this question: what was better, the Black Death or the bubonic plague?

All it now needs are for the music to come in and the credits to roll, European art-house cine style, as I leave with a “there you have it”.

There you have it. A blog piece that not only reflects on the levels of triteness, opportunism and boring nature of a pseudo-professional and achingly postmodern web site, but a representative piece that also tries to embody all of that banality, manipulation and awkwardness in less than one thousand words. I hope that this piece provided some food for thought, if nothing much else.

Many thanks for reading.

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