Why Conduct on LinkedIn Should Serve as a Model for All Online Behavior

by Erik Freeman on June 28, 2014

online-identity

In an interview with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, he describes the unique behavior of users on the LinkedIn platform.

“If you share something that’s not professionally oriented, on LinkedIn you’re not going to get any engagement, and the feedback you get may not be very positive. It’s not the right forum for that, and your professional identity is tied to it. You’re going to be very thoughtful about a comment that appears next to your image and your name and your title and your company. … Is what I’m sharing a consistent extension of who I am professionally? Is this going to add value, or is it going to muddy up the feed?”

I would go one step further to suggest that this type of behavior should mirror the way you conduct yourself everywhere online. People have a tendency to wait until they get to the edge of a precipice before turning around. The unfortunate reality online, however, is that everything is for keeps. Nothing is private. Your data doesn’t go away. We all know this, yet the majority of people still behave online as though they have a modicum of privacy and they expect to be forgiven their trespasses.

When all is said and done, I think we’re all going to find that our online personas are really our personal brands. Everything we’ve ever put on the Internet will be there for the taking. Analyses will continue to evolve, allowing others to begin to predict our behaviors based on our friends, our likes and proclivities. There will be a judgment. Will the final analysis be one that you thoughtfully crafted, or will it rather be composed of a hodgepodge of emotional outbursts, questionable statements and cat pictures?

When people post on LinkedIn, they generally consider the fact that their boss, colleagues and future employers might see what they’ve posted. They dot their I’s and cross their T’s. LinkedIn isn’t a place where you air your dirty laundry—and I would like to put forward that Facebook, Twitter or any other place online isn’t either.

The Internet should be a place to build your personal brand and your authority. Take your lead from Jeff Weiner, and before you put anything online, ask yourself if what you’re sharing is a consistent extension of who you are professionally and whether or not you’re going to add value or muddy up the feed. When on the Internet, do as those LinkedIn do.