Social media offers a space for users to tell the world what they believe in and have fun doing it.
But when social media sites become dedicated to professional purposes over personal ones, users lose the ability to express themselves.
LinkedIn is missing out on opportunities with social media users because it does not support their needs for individuality in the way they expect from social networking sites. With some improvements, however, I think LinkedIn can meet users where they are.
LinkedIn ranks 15th among social media sites in terms of active users, according to a recent report by DataReportal.
Even though it falls into the social media category, it’s a place for users to wear the online equivalent of a suit and tie, to choose words carefully and frame themselves as both a humble being and as the best in their field.
How does one strike a balance between being impressive and just being themselves?
I believe in the value of LinkedIn, which is why I also believe there is a better way for LinkedIn to capture users’ attention. By changing some fundamental aspects of LinkedIn, the site can make users care about creating a unique business persona.
The key to helping users feel like they can be themselves is making them comfortable. The best way to make people feel comfortable is by giving them more features that work in their favor.
Too often on LinkedIn, users receive notifications about people they have never met. I often receive notifications urging me to send a personal message to someone I don’t know or congratulate a stranger on their one-year work anniversary. Cutting these notifications down would make LinkedIn less of a nuisance.
LinkedIn would capture more people’s attention if it recognized when sending a notification is best. For example, receiving a comment on a post is worthy of my attention. My former co-worker’s cousin’s birthday, contrary to what LinkedIn seems to say to me, does not matter.
LinkedIn can become more user-friendly by limiting the amount of space dedicated to ads. At any time, users are bombarded with promoted content, blatant ads and viral posts from CEOs and influencers across the world.
My final suggestion is that LinkedIn lower the cost of its premium service. The current price is an unobtainable $29.99 per month. This needs to change.
I do not expect the corporate jargon and posts from strangers about workplace values to disappear from LinkedIn. I do not mind seeing word “synergy” used unironically. I can get used to being drowned with advice about hiring, getting hired, keeping myself hirable, and someday, down the line, hiring employees of my own.
But to do so, I need a site that looks out for me. LinkedIn, it’s time to make users feel comfortable in their hypothetical suit and tie.
Joy Burton (she/her) is a senior studying public relations. She plans to examine media and behavior in her postgraduate studies.
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