The Tribes: Which Insufferable LinkedIn Guy Are You?
Having turned 18 in May, LinkedIn enters adulthood a fully-fledged fixture in our social-media fever dream. Billed as a way to connect the world’s professionals, the platform claims to help three people land jobs every minute and has clocked up a membership of well over 700 million worldwide. Yet, for all its earnest networking intentions, LinkedIn – as with any community of its size – doubles as a fascinating study into human behaviour. Alongside scores of well-intentioned newcomers seeking their next step on the ladder exists a rogue’s gallery of weird and wonderful characters inhabiting its feeds and forums, and not all of them are there to find a job. But which ones have viewed your profile today?
The Would-Be Leadership Guru
This brand-building big shot is a self-professed thought leader eager to share their wisdom with the world. What their profile lacks in bona fide credentials (hands up who isn’t on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list?) is offset by far-fetched descriptors – “jedi”, “ninja”, “rock star” – and alleged proximity to Mr Bill Gates. Peppering their feed with MBA-lite observations and showboating self-praise (#leadership #ilovemyjob), this blue-chip bore is a self-taught expert in “broetry”. You know the sort, lengthy anecdotes of the time they took a punt on an unlikely outsider or tall tales beginning, “Yesterday, I was walking to an interview when…” and whose doubled-spaced staccato sentences read like a manifesto. “Will you be attending my workshop?” Unlikely.
Timeline curation just isn’t a concept that concerns the Oversharer, whose commitment to self-expression guarantees an emotional roller-coaster for friends and followers alike. Blissfully ignorant of their visibility to would-be recruiters, they treat LinkedIn like Facebook and their newsfeed as a blank canvas to illuminate their audience with everyday highs and lows delivered with open-veined honesty. Alarm bells ring when (highly personal) posts come prefaced with “I never post personal stuff here, but…” Rubber-necking onlookers can expect a barrage of posts for “sympathy” likes, second-hand social-justice musings, family WhatsApp-grade humour and – the horror – public spats with customer service teams. U OK hun?
An air of hyperactivity surrounds the Completionist, an algorithm-baiting power user on a mission to “win” LinkedIn. He’s turned social media gamification into an art form, adding everyone within a cursor’s reach (including those in completely unrelated fields), with acceptees treated to a pre-populated LinkedIn message: “Thanks for connecting – I’m just building my network.” He’s had more jobs than friends, throws out endorsements for fun and is an expert at performative likes – “celebrating” corporate posts far and wide to boost engagement and maximise visibility, which in turn manifests in a steady stream of mediocrity on our own feeds. LinkedIn? Completed it, mate. And don’t we all know it.
The Cheerleading Coach
Hands down the most wholesome presence on LinkedIn, this alternative father figure – likely an older former colleague – always has your back. Having established a career anyone would be proud of, rather than sailing off into the sunset, he can be found instead championing those connections he’s fostered over the years. Always supportive, the coach will be there shouting encouragement from the sidelines, his uplifting one-liners (“great job”, “well deserved”) underwriting any post you make, while worthy opportunities are forwarded, glowing endorsements made and motivational quotes shared. Hell, they’ll even congratulate connections on their job anniversary. Where do they find the time?
The Shameless Creeper
Embodying the polar opposite of imposter syndrome, this snake-oil specialist isn’t backward in coming forward. While many on LinkedIn might be earnestly seeking their next career move, this guy has a few (unsolicited) moves of his own up his sleeve. With a profile sure to spotlight a seemingly senior role – agency head, self-made creative director – those who dare click through find achievements and endorsements a little harder to define. Select new connections are swiftly greeted by an unsolicited DM slide, with promises of career advancement likely to come with a catch. No reply, no problem – the undeterred creeper will simply bide his time, using your birthday as a hook to “reconnect” later down the line. And is that profile photo even up to date? All signs point to no.
Illustration by Mr Pete Gamlen