Is LinkedIn Too Stuffy?

Posted on November 19, 2012. Filed under: social media | Tags: , , |

LinkedInThis was the question I found myself asking not too long ago after participating in a discussion group on LinkedIn, where some of my colleagues were acting as though we were negotiating some type of high-end corporate merger instead of “discussing” (more like vying for the microphone) the finer points of career transition. After attempting to make a comment to lighten up the conversation (nothing off-color, I assure you) and to engage instead of one-up, one of my counterparts basically reprimanded me!

Now, if this had been the first time I had come across this scenario on LinkedIn, I would have just chalked it up to that, but it turns out to be somewhat the norm when it comes to that environment.

Certainly, it is true that different social media sites have different “cultures,” but exactly what the “rules” are for each culture are still a little murky, if you ask me.

A colleague and I were chatting recently about the LinkedIn versus Twitter culture, and he was telling me why he did not like the Twitter “vibe.” Basically, he felt Twitter was too loose of a forum. Anyone could just participate in a Twitter chat (instead of gaining acceptance into a group, like on LinkedIn), and he felt like from a techie front, it was mostly inexperienced people or posers trying to sound “techie.”  On the other hand, he found LinkedIn made more sense to him because it had a more “corporate” feel to him, random streams weren’t whizzing by, and he could take his time to craft a well-written response. Plus, he could look up a person’s profile and get a better sense of his or her experience and background. Basically, he liked knowing who he was talking to, and he liked that it was a more formal discussion, especially if he were looking for advice or direction on a particular project or subject.

When I pointed out to him that some people lie or stretch their credentials on their LinkedIn profiles (see my recent article “Who Says LinkedIn Profiles Are Truthful?“), he still was not deterred. Overall, he felt like it was a more trustworthy environment and that more “experts” hung out over there.

He could be right. I certainly think he brings up some valid points.

In my mind, however, I still find the LinkedIn culture, well, stuffy.

And from a longevity standpoint, I’m not sure how well that will continue to play out as more people become comfortable with social media.

As someone who hangs out in both Twitter and LinkedIn groups, I find Twitter to be more cutting edge, frankly. It is true that it takes some time to get familiar with how things work there. And finding the right mix of followers and people you want to follow can be more time consuming for sure. But whether it is #TCFchat, a Twitter chat hosted by the Tech Career Forum on Wednesdays at 3pm East, or #tchat, hosted by Talent Culture, on Wednesdays at 7pm East, generally I find the discussion, well, more of a discussion.

For all of my LinkedIn discussion groups, I find them more of a lecture, where each participant is trying to impress me with his or her knowledgebase (so I can score them on the “best” answer). I’m not sure how that is engaging exactly…? Especially when it feels like we are constantly in interview mode, 3-piece suits and all.

Now it could just be my rebel entrepreneurial bias showing through, but generally, I am usually in favor of a more structured approach to things. And certainly there is a lot of silliness that goes on with Twitter (even if it is avoidable). However, in the case of LinkedIn, honestly, I just don’t find it an interesting place to be (it’s like one of those jobs where I’m stuck in an endless meeting, wondering “is it 5 o’clock yet?”). Now, if like my co-worker, I want a good lecture and some advice (although I rarely see the quality of the advice as any better, just longer winded), I can see the value, and it certainly is becoming the place to be for social recruiting, but the air is certainly thicker (and you might want to change out of your PJs before logging on).

But whatever you do, and I say this with all earnestness, don’t try and be funny!

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15 Responses to “Is LinkedIn Too Stuffy?”

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That’s the beauty of the internet. Not everything needs to be all things. LinkedIn has its own niche to fill. That’s why I don’t like their recent decision to let members “follow” people in LinkedIn. Can’t I do that on Twitter or FaceBook? To me LinkedIn has always been my online resume where I can also connect with others in the industry or other professionals in general. If I want breaking news I can use Twitter and if I want to catch up with friends I use FB. Pretty simple.

Pretentious people, sadly, are not confined to one platform or another.

Personally I like that LinkedIn is more ‘business’ and not just a stream of stories about cats and kids. I wouldn’t spend all day there but it has its place.

Thanks for sharing this interesting post! You shed light on key thoughts > Twitter vs LinkedIn Culture. I continue to appreciate your participation in our weekly #TChat World of Work Twitter Chat. We are about to celebrate our two year anniversary and look forward to a new year of tweets and insight!

You may find it ironic that we are moving to LinkedIn as another option to connect. We took our time to allow the community to develop “organically” on Twitter – It’s time to expand channels and provide another option and platform for sharing.

Smart thoughts. See you on the streams. I will keep you posted.

Have been on Linkedin 7 years and get a lot of value (including some clients and a job) from it. But its biggest drawback is that it doesn’t give you much in the way of reasons to visit and hang around. They need to pick up a little of the G+ vibe which always has interesting topics.

Interesting. I find it quite the opposite. I am active on both LinkedIn and Twitter. While some Twitter chats are great, others are just plain cliquish. If you aren’t part of the inner circle, your comments and questions are ignored.

I wrote this after one of the chats I participate in was unfriendly a few times:

Social Media R.O.I. – All Businesses Aren’t Country Clubs

I bowed out of another chat one night because it was so unfriendly I felt like I was invisible. I started a discussion on LinkedIn about Unfriendly Twitter Chats and many agreed with me.

On LinkedIn, some groups are well moderated and there is lag time. There isn’t the same pressure to respond as on Twitter when sometimes the stream moves so fast that one can hardly keep up with it.

Anyway, interesting discussion.

Good to know, Meghan! It will be interesting to see how the community engages on LI vs Twitter. #tchat has become such a good resource.


That’s an interesting point, Dan. Google+ could very well bridge Twitter and LinkedIn in many ways if/when more people embrace it.

Thanks for your comments, Anne. I agree that one issue with Twitter is finding the right niche, whether it is a chat or groups of followers that you trust/engage with. It can take time to develop that, more time than some want to spend.

I have found it to be rewarding, but I do agree that it is less welcoming initially.

It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on your social media environs! I’m not so sure everyone does or is willing to get to that point. But I agree that you need to look at each outlet and recognize the best way to use it.

I’ve found stuffiness on a few occasions, but overall the discussions in which I have participated have been mostly friendly and informal and often quite useful. I actually find more stuffiness in certain blogs where the owners just spout, but rarely interact with their readers or visit the blogs of those who visit them. Fortunately there are also a great many bloggers who are interested in dialog and network building. This make blogging the more useful forum for me.

[…] This was the question I found myself asking not too long ago after participating in a discussion group on LinkedIn, where I found some of my colleagues acting as though we were negotiating some typ…  […]

I agree that interacting on blogs can be a much more effective way to build a network. My Triberr tribemates have become a great resource for me and generally very engaging. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

[…] a recent blog post, I posed the question, Is LinkedIn Too Stuffy? In that article, I shared some thoughts from a colleague of mine who liked the more corporate feel […]

I’ve had both good & bad experiences on twitter. The writers’ groups are pretty insufferable. Very little dialogue, a lot of talking at people and attempts to out intellectual each other. As an aspiring writer who gets social media, it was such a disappointment. On the flip side I enjoy many of the threads in my getting things done group. They are helpful and acknowledge there are different ways to make the system work for each individual. It’s a bit geeky but not egotistical like the writers.

[…] It is no secret that I have been a Twitter fanatic. When I first started using it, as a small business owner, I saw so many possibilities for me as well as for job seekers. Twitter, unlike other social media outlets, has many interesting layers. It can be a networking tool, information-gathering tool, and marketing tool. As a result, at least in theory, it can open doors that were once before difficult to open, and it does so in a less formal environment than LinkedIn, which can get a little stuffy at times. […]

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