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LinkedIn or Left Out?

Thursday 26 February 2015

LinkedIn or Left Out?

Do our ‘influencers’ really have that much to say?

It seems that despite being populated by the most successful entrepreneurs you can find today and perhaps the greatest businesspeople of our time, Pulse remains to be as clickbait focused and swingy as any other generic online blog. The main difference in day to day news according to Pulse is there are now 8 ways to boost your online presence, over yesterday’s top 5 ways to increase your search ranking.

“Thanks for posting this!” says the top comment.

And I read the various lists – it’s the same thing again and again! Optimise keywords. Get stuff done. Hire people you can trust. Don’t criticise your employees without reason. Keep a calm temper. Is it that in order to be noticed online you just have to state the obvious?

The world is so focused on ‘experts’ that nobody attempts to read what they say. We just absorb it and post an inane comment like “Great insight!” or “Thanks for posting!”

The hype about Big Data is the worst one. Big Data has been around forever, since the Magna Carta, a buzzword to conceptualise the vast amounts of rows and columns needed to document everything us humans purchase, go to and use. Some ‘influencers’ gleefully offer themselves as bastions of the Big Data bandwagon and us LinkedIn users have graciously accepted them as our glorious leaders. Blogs repeatedly stress the new ‘trend’ of Big Data and how these innovations are ‘changing our lives’, without addressing how any of it is actually done.

For instance, recent news is that you can go to Walmart and if they don’t have what you want, your phone will direct you to the nearest store that has the same thing.

Fantastic!

So Walmart has stock lists now? What has changed here apart from the unrealistic assumption I’m going to drive thirty miles to buy a particular brand of banana because my phone suggested it, rather than the employee I asked in the first place if they had the product in stock?

Where is the news here? Who is going to use it? How is this simple concept worth thousands of views, thousands of shares, and a 1500 word blog describing the idea?

I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve gone to a store and they haven’t had what I was looking for, because I researched in the first place if they were likely to sell it.

Walmart did this through data analytics, not saying ‘Big Data’ until their face goes blue and their problems magically resolve themselves.

These ‘influencers’ are undoubtedly incredible businesspeople, but it pains me that they still use the same clickbait headlines as Buzzfeed and the Metro ‘newspaper’.

To get noticed online, or on Pulse, or get ranked on Google, it’s just the same cycle of regurgitating what’s new and crossing your fingers that you crawl up the ladder whilst sacrificing any shed of self-respect and dignity you might have in your work.

Repeating buzzwords ad-nauseam until the public gets bored and we come up with the next one (cough Internet of Things cough).

Gone are the days of self-research.

Trying before buying.

Taking a risk on something new.

We think that endless user comments and reviews help us make our decision but in reality they all follow the first few people who posted. If you notice a comment thread or trend often what’s said in the first ten comments will be the popular opinion in the next one hundred!

We need to start thinking for ourselves! (Irony anyone…)

I digress. This started about clickbait and should stay that way. We talk about insight day in day out but don’t actually make any of our own. Maybe our tools aren’t up to the task, maybe we’re looking at the key concepts of ‘big data’ and ‘analytics’ in the wrong ways. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a new way of doing things, and it isn’t the one suggested by …

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