The Personal Branding Bubble Is Destroying LinkedIn’s Credibility As A Professional Network

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim

I used to love LinkedIn, really. The platform once heralded as the ultimate professional networking platform, is experiencing a significant shift that threatens its credibility as a go-to place for career-oriented and business-oriented professionals. The overwhelming prominence of personal branding has transformed LinkedIn into just another social networking platform, akin to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Non-professional content now overshadows the professional, diluting the platform’s original purpose. Thanks to the personal branding bubble I think. 

Here, I’d like to highlight several factors contributing to this trend, including the prevalence of selfies, the abundance of recycled content, the excessive self-promotion, and a few others that underscore LinkedIn’s gradual transition from a professional network to a personal branding platform.

I wonder whether LinkedIn wants to move away from being a professional platform in its hunt for more users. 

The platform for selfies

This could probably be the best way to acquire engagement. And more engagement means you can elevate your personal branding to the next level. The bubble probably starts here.

One of the most noticeable phenomena on LinkedIn is the proliferation of selfies. While LinkedIn was initially designed for showcasing professional headshots and work-related images, the excessive posting of personal selfies has become increasingly common. By inundating LinkedIn with selfies, users undermine the platform’s original purpose of facilitating meaningful professional connections and career or business growth.

The influx of selfies indicates a shift towards personal validation. That’s right. Users are more into personal validation rather than professional networking. Selfies are often associated with personal social media platforms, such as Instagram, where self-expression and self-promotion are prioritised. When selfies dominate LinkedIn’s newsfeed, I’m seeing the platform loses its distinct professional character and becomes just another outlet for personal image cultivation. 

The recycled content is pretty overwhelming too

Another factor contributing to LinkedIn’s waning credibility is the prevalence of recycled content. Users frequently repurpose content from other social media platforms without adapting it to the professional context of LinkedIn. Consequently, the platform is saturated with generic, unoriginal posts that lack value and depth. Instead of contributing unique insights, users often resort to reposting content that has already circulated elsewhere.

There are a number of prominent users on LinkedIn, using recycled content to build their engagement, connections and followers. Many of them achieved more than 50,000, six to seven digits followers true this method. No matter how annoying this recycled content can be, it can also be a tool to build personal branding growth here on the platform.

Although they know recycled content on LinkedIn dilutes the quality of discussions and interactions on the platform, the method is the fastest way to build growth. Whatever it is, to me, this inundation of recycled content undermines LinkedIn’s credibility as a platform for intellectual discussions and meaningful connections. 

You can expect more noise from now on, thanks to this.

It’s all about me, me, and me

No, it’s not about you. It’s about me, me and me all the way. An interesting trend that contributes to LinkedIn’s transformation into a personal branding platform is the beyond-normal self-promotion postings among its users. The focus has shifted from sharing valuable industry insights and fostering collaboration to a self-centred approach where personal achievements and accolades take centre stage. 

LinkedIn’s professional network was built on the premise of connecting individuals based on shared interests, expertise, and professional goals. However, the rise of personal branding has led to a culture of self-centeredness that overlooks the collaborative spirit that once defined the platform. This excessive self-promotion hampers the exchange of knowledge and inhibits the creation of authentic professional relationships.

Instant and fake gurus

A few years ago, everybody was putting their designation as the ‘experts’ in digital marketing, social media and marketing. There were a few who simply transformed their profile overnight to become a go-to marketing persons. And the best part is, they have no background, no certification and no experience whatsoever. Yesterday they were something else, but today they are the marketing experts. 

Recently, the personal branding trend has somehow changed. Everybody wants to become a guru, using different types of titles that lead many to believe they are the go-to person. While I don’t have the knowledge about what it takes to become a guru, it seems that you can see them everywhere on LinkedIn. It is how it is. 

To recap

So, when they say that LinkedIn is becoming just another Facebook, I can see it is happening now. It is no longer recognised the today’s version of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s shift towards becoming another social networking platform, characterised by excessive personal branding, has led to the erosion of its professional credibility. The overabundance of selfies, recycled content, excessive self-promotion and too many self-professed gurus have transformed LinkedIn into a platform that prioritises personal image cultivation over meaningful professional connections.

LinkedIn’s original uniqueness lies in striking a balance between personal branding and professional networking. With the platform’s core mission of connecting professionals and facilitating career growth, LinkedIn used to stand out as the go-to platform for professional networking and development. But not anymore, not as effective as before. 

And that’s a pretty sad thing to see.

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