It’s your work anniversary. We know it because the LinkedIn algorithm alerted us.
LinkedIn says I should congratulate you.
They give me the text.
All I have to do is click SEND.
LinkedIn shows you my message.
They say you should thank me.
They give you the text.
All you have to do is click SEND.
What has just happened here???
LinkedIn has just brokered an interaction between us that required no forethought, no planning, no writing, and (ironically) no interaction.
By providing us with stock responses, LinkedIn would like us to use their messaging service more. They would like us to use their platform to engage more.
LinkedIn, as one of the only viable business oriented social networks, does a fairly good job of keeping us engaged on their platform. There are LinkedIn alternatives out there, but none has the same reach.
But instead of engaging, we just click through. Although I tend to personalize my messages and responses, generally speaking people seem to prefer the ready-made solutions. This is of course a matter of practicality. Depending on how many connections you have, you could get hundreds of congratulations from the LinkedIn-Content-Bot. Naturally no one has time in the course of the day to send a reflective response to 782 automatically generated congratulations messages.
But my thought is this: why send them then?
My preference is to “like” the announcement without sending a message – unless of course I really have something to say. Anything else is just wasting everyone’s time. Although I enjoy getting messages on LinkedIn and find it a useful way to communicate, I always feel horrible when I accidentally opt for the stock content instead of stopping and really answering.
In something meant to be a personal engagement, we have allowed ourselves to be fully depersonalized.
As a staunch LinkedIn user, I have mixed feelings about this. Surely there would be a better way to encourage me to write messages. Why not pop up one of my 6,000 connections to whom I have not written in a long time and say: “Joe hasn’t heard from you in a while.” I might think – yes, good idea!
I find the content-bot approach to be a little frightening. It fosters the use of clichéd thought and expression. We use this platform because it is a good and professional service, usually devoid of cat pictures and less-than-clever memes.
In my view we owe it to ourselves and to our LinkedIn connections actually to connect.