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Why Has LinkedIn Become Facebook?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 7, 2016

In June 2015 I wrote a post talking about how these days it’s hard to do business on LinkedIn. I talked about how people who seemingly reach out saying they want to work with you actually want you to work for them… for free! I talked about how I rarely get anyone reaching out to me to do business for them where I’ll get paid, and I mentioned how people will reach out to ask me for advice; I don’t mind that part.

LICincoDeMayo-4
Jo Chou via Compfight

Then last September, on my birthday no less, I wrote a post about social media mistakes people make which included mentioning how it seems that a lot of people these days are acting like trolls on LinkedIn, a site that’s supposed to be for business purposes. I can’t understand how those people think someone will see that and say “Ooohhh, I can’t wait to work with this person”; wouldn’t be me!

Yet, I have noticed something intriguing over the past 18 months or so, and what’s made it intriguing is that people are saying on LinkedIn what I’ve been thinking for a while but think it’s rude to actually say on LinkedIn, especially on something someone else has posted. That line, or a derivative of it, is: “This shouldn’t be on LinkedIn; it should be on Facebook.”

That’s a very legitimate gripe and it leads to the big question, the elephant in the room: why has LinkedIn become Facebook?

The initial reason is easy; have you seen Facebook’s numbers, both in members and growth? In essence, Facebook is now the largest country in the world; who wouldn’t want to emulate that?

Other reasons make sense also. Since making changes a couple of years ago, their revenue has increased, engagement overall has increased, visits have increased and advertising has increased. It’s no wonder Microsoft bought them in June.

They say their overall long term goal is to have 3 billion profiles and a major growth in traffic and usage via their LinkedIn mobile app (which I’m not all that crazy about). So far their newest strategies seem to be working out for them; so what’s the problem?

The problem is that it’s less of a business site and more of a… well… Facebook type site.

One thing LinkedIn has done is diminished the usefulness of their Groups option, and that’s too bad. Then again, I’d lamented how it seemed that most groups either had people just posting links without comment or had become a cesspool of spam that no one was moderating anyway so I guess it’s easier to ask “what’s the point” than to try to fix them and make them more attractive.

Another thing is some of what we now see in the updates area on the home page. Nearly everyone is just posting links to things they’re not creating and they have no comment most of the time. At least the link I share from this blog and my business blog are things I’m creating on my own, but I’ll be honest and say what I do might not be all that much better just because I created it.

networking0412

The updates that get commented on are… well, interesting. Any updates with puppies and babies get the most comments… like on Facebook. Political posts seem to get the most vitriol… just like on Facebook. For a site that likes to promote itself as a business networking site I’m not sure that’s what any of the above can truly be considered as.

Obviously I have some complaints about LinkedIn, some of which I’ve made plain here. However, I’m one of those people who hates people who complain about things without offering some suggestions for how to make things better. Here are 3 things I wish they had or would do to make it better:

1. Set up “true” networking sites

What would be nice is if, instead of something like the type of groups they have now, LinkedIn set up networking groups based on specific business categories that people could join and know that they would have the opportunity to really engage with others in their industry. The difference here is that if people joined and never said anything for a period of 30 days they’d automatically be bounced from the group.

A gripe of mine is joining a group that says it has 25,000 members but only 3 or 4 people are ever posting anything, and maybe 9 or 10 ever say anything. I think fewer people but those ready to talk about industry information and possibilities would be much stronger and make the site more valuable to both consultants like myself and people who might want to find someone to work with.

2. Make people declare sites they’re related to and set a limit on the number of items they can share outside of those sites.

This might seem a bit controversial until you realize it’s what YouTube has done to a certain extent. On YouTube, I can only share information in their Cards program from either sites that I’m associated with in my profile or other YouTube videos. They also only limit 5 cards per video. Some might say you can get around this by using annotations but those don’t show up on mobile.

With restrictions like this, it would limit the amount of mindless posts that people share that have nothing to do with them and potentially get them back to posting more business related items. It might reduce the stream a little bit but truthfully, who can say they even know how to keep up with the stream (like Facebook), let alone care (like Facebook)? It would certainly give more members a chance to highlight themselves; it’s amazing that people need to be forced to talk about themselves or their business on a site supposedly for business.

3. Allow local members to set up face-to-face networking events via LinkedIn.

Since they want to be Facebook anyway, LinkedIn might as well set this feature up like Facebook has. In the past many of us tried doing it through groups because there were a lot of people who were members but there was no way of seeing who might really be interested in coming. I’m not sure how valuable this might be to the masses but I know that meeting the few people I have because of LinkedIn locally has been a wonderful thing, and having a chance to meet a bunch of them at once would probably be pretty nice also.

How do you feel about the “new” LinkedIn, and what would you like to see that you don’t see now?

(Updateit seems that just a couple of weeks later LinkedIn admits it wants to be the #1 social media site in the world by… you guessed it… trying to beat Facebook at Facebook…)
 

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How Social Do We Have To Be On Social Media?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 4, 2016

Today is Independence Day In America… sort of… At least it’s the 4th of July, which denotes the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 with the big John Hancock signature on it. To all those who will be celebrating the holiday… nicely or not… I wish you a very safe and happy day.

Me_Uncle Bill

Independence is an interesting thing to talk about today. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of articles talking about a sort of independence as it pertains to social media. That topic is the “art” of unfriending, separating from someone on a social media platform who’s getting on your nerves in some fashion.

The odd thing is that more articles are talking about why they won’t unfollow people, people we shouldn’t unfollow, people we unfollow because of other circumstances and of course all the negative political talk unfriending.

Some writers are saying that our society is becoming more intolerant, not because of what people are saying but because some of us block people whose views we disagree with instead of engaging them in conversation and either trying to convince them to see your side of things or even possibly swing them your way… with facts of course.

I have a response to the people who are saying that: are you kidding me? Weren’t y’all around when I had to deal with stuff like this back in 2008 when Barack Obama was running for president? Aren’t I still going through a lot of this same mess now?

Back in January I talked about how I’d just finished sculpting my Facebook feed because a lot of people were getting on my last nerve. Some of these were people I’ve known for a long time, whose politics have shifted over the years away from mine. Some were relatives I don’t know all that well who were saying a lot of foul stuff I don’t participate in. Some were folks sharing stuff I could have cared less about. Some were people I really didn’t know all that well, and some were people who I’d never heard from in all the years I’ve been there.

Frankly, my feed hasn’t necessarily been as peaceful as I’d like it to have been but it’s been a lot better. Every once in a while things slip in because you can’t block images by topic, and you can’t account for everything that happens in the world.

There are also lots of people who are what I call Twitter selfish because all they do is promote themselves all day, lots of posts, without much regard for anyone else; ugh! Then you have the other side of the coin where people aren’t producing anything original so that we can help promote them. Maybe you’ll remember my post a couple of weeks ago saying that there are lots of people who aren’t even giving us the chance to help promote them on social media.

I don’t worry about either hiding people or unfriending them on social media because they do the same thing to me. Facebook tells me when people unfriend me (it’s not supposed to but I have a plugin…), but Twitter doesn’t. Neither does LinkedIn, where I also went on a culling spree some months ago.

Me and Pat

I will acknowledge that true discourse leaves when we don’t engage people whose views we don’t agree with. At the same time, I have to say that people on social media engage much differently than they do in person.

People tend to be nicer when expressing their views in person. Maybe it’s because I’m a 6′ tall large black man who they don’t want to potentially deal with if they make me angry; I don’t know. Maybe it’s because when all is said and done the best they have is “belief” rather than facts. Or maybe they’ve heard of my reputation, where I’ll just cut them out of my life and move on; depending on circumstance I’m not big on forgiveness (sorry Mom).

The reality is that blogging is more about opinion than anything else. Even when we’re doing tutorials, we’re giving our opinion on the right way to do things. It also turns out that some of these things don’t work across the board, as I found out after I wrote my brief Samsung tutorial; sigh…

Social media is pretty much the same thing. We can only know what we know so sometimes even if we’re posting fact, it could turn out that fact isn’t true sorry Walter. Depending on how it’s presented, it’s either something we can talk about or it isn’t.

Still, no one should feel obligated to do everything someone else tells them to do… even if I’m saying it (do it! lol). We all know our comfort level and should handle social media as we see fit.

Can there be consequences? Absolutely! Family members might get upset if you drop them. Coworkers might get offended if you drop them. Also, you might find that just because you drop someone doesn’t mean they might not still see things you’ve said (you have to learn how to drop people) or that you won’t still see things they post because you’re connected to some of the same people.

As some folks have said, “You be you Boo.” šŸ™‚
 

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Are Fewer People Creating New Content?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 27, 2016

Before I get into today’s topic, I’d like to break a blogging taboo (I’m always doing that) to highlight the fact that last Friday was the 15th anniversary of my being self employed. If you know me (which you would if you’re a regular visitor), you know that I wrote about it. I titled it 15 Years Of Self Employment; 3 Things You Need To Know, and not only did I give some information on that but I also created a video that went live on the same day that’s embedded on the same post. Want to know how I decided to go into business for myself and why I do all the things I do? Check it out, comment, share and give me a bit of love on it. I don’t ask often but hey, how many people make it 15 years working on their own? šŸ™‚

Granville fetch yer cloth
Creative Commons License Shawn Spencer-Smith via Compfight

You know what? In actually, writing that post seems to make me kind of an anomaly, just like my writing this post today. Why?

Two weeks ago I wrote a post titled People Aren’t Helping Us Help Them On Social Media. Part of my lament was how few people whose posts I end up sharing on social media was actually created by them. A comment on the post above seemed to say it best: “Iā€™m not sure that there are that many people who actually create something new.

I had to think about that one before responding and I realized he was absolutely right. I know of at least 5 or 7 people who stopped blogging this year. I also know lots of people who haven’t written a blog post in at least six months, and some people who say they’re ready to start blogging again but haven’t gotten around to doing it.

People aren’t creating their own posts; that’s a shame. You know what else is a shame? People aren’t reading what they’re sharing either, at least according to this article from the NY Daily News, based on a survey by Columbia University and the French National Institute (Inria; frankly these two organizations don’t seem to fit together with one in NYC & the other in Bordeaux, France) which states that 60% of people share without ever visiting the link they’re sharing.

I believe that because I see lots of people sharing my content from at least this blog and the traffic figures don’t seem to support it. Twitter shows on Google Analytics as my biggest referrer, yet the figure only shows 25 visitors from there in the last 30 days; way more people are sharing my links than that in my Twitter stream.

If people aren’t creating and they’re not reading what they’re sharing, it begs the question as to what content is going to look like in the near future. I mean, if few people are reading content, what the point in creating it? What’s going on here?

First, let me point out that the sharing without reading isn’t a new thing. Back in 2014 The Verge had an article titled You’re not going to read this but you’ll probably share it anyway where a writer named Adrianne Jeffries stated that Chartbeat and Upworthy studies showed that people weren’t spending enough time on sites to actually read much of the content that was eventually being shared.

Second, the big thing these days isn’t just video but live video. Although I’m fighting it, and will probably continue fighting it (other than those really short clips I put up on Instagram like this). Periscope, Blab, Snapchat, Facebook Live… nope, not interested. Yet many people are, especially millennials, and it’s a quick and easy way for people to create things that for the most part disappear within so many hours.

Note-taking: Linear
Matt Cornock via Compfight

Third, some people have decided they don’t need to write in their own space and have gone for a bigger audience by writing for sites like Huffington Post and Medium, even LinkedIn. Frankly, I’m too possessive to put all my new content anywhere besides a site of my own (unless I’m being paid for it) but it’s hard to begrudge those folks because what I see being shared more often these days are articles on sites like this. Heck, because I see few new articles from people I’m connected with I’m sharing a lot of that content these days also, although it’s not my first choice, and of course I’m reading it all before sharing it.

This tells us that maybe the lack of content isn’t the problem as much as the way it’s delivered and then, strangely enough, potentially disappears. For instance, a video on Facebook Live might not disappear, but unless you’re following a certain person you’re probably never going to be able to access that video again. YouTube, my video site of choice, will always not only have my videos, but I’ve set up playlists so people can search for whatever interests them. Longevity has its place as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said.

I’m someone who makes sure to create at least 2 new articles every week; then again I have multiple blogs and two video channels. In the last 7 days I created 3 articles and 3 videos, and I promote each one on Twitter at least 5 times and on other sites at least once, so I can’t be accused of not creating anything. I do know that everyone isn’t going to create as much content at I do, but has it really become such a chore that it’s not worth the effort anymore?

I put this out to the masses (that’s y’all) as a question that I’d really like answered. By the way, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article and forgot to check out my 15th anniversary post, I’ll wait while you check that out. Just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Spi… I mean, blogger & social media critic. šŸ˜‰
 

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People Aren’t Helping Us Help Them On Social Media

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 13, 2016

Back in March when I wrote what turned out to be my very popular post 31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media, I broke up the thoughts about blogging and social media to make the article easier to read and understand. Lost of folks liked, commented and shared that post and I thought that was pretty cool.

Rudy's lunch
I shared lunch!

Yet, 3 months later and I’m seeing something that’s making me write another post about 3 things regarding social media that it just feels like I’m seeing more of. The funny thing is that it’s the first 3 things I talked about in that other post, which I intentionally listed as the first 3 because I thought they were important enough to get in as soon as possible when I switched to the social media topic.

Of course this means I have to go over them again, since I really believe that people are missing out on opportunities to help us help them make big inroads on social media, and even potentially their blogs, and y’all know I’m big on talking about blogs.

Marketing All The Time

“Buy my book. Buy my program. Sign up for my webinar.”

Over and over again, I see these messages in many places. I’m not connected to as many of these people because I find this sort of thing irritating, but when I look at lists I’ve created such as my leadership list, which I use as part of my Twitter marketing, there are periods where I see someone marketing their stuff at least every 5 minutes or so. True, at least they change the wording, but who wants to see that over and over regardless?

Should we be marketing on Twitter, or other places on social media? I believe if we’re doing any type of business and have either products or services we think someone might be interested in then absolutely. Is there a correct number of times to do so? Not really I’m probably say. Is there an incorrect number of times? Absolutely!

The nature of social media is to be pretty fluid and fast moving; I get that. Lots of people are trying to eek out their bit of space to get some attention.

What some folks might not realize is that if people are connected to you and you’re marketing too much, you’re being tuned out and all the effort you’re putting in isn’t going to do you any good. How do I know? Isn’t this the generation that tunes out commercials, has ad blindness on blogs and websites, and watches more things like Netflix so they can avoid commercials altogether?

The fact that you might have 120K connections on Twitter, another 100K on Google Plus, and maybe 50K on LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily mean you’re popular. It just means people are lazy and not in the mood to block you like I will.

Try to remember that a little bit of absence can go a long way. Once, maybe twice an hour if you feel the need, is plenty. Heck, did I just counter what I said earlier? lol

Not Sharing Any Of Your Own Content

I love people who share the content of others; way to go! Now, tell us something about you. For that matter, share something that you put out on your own, something that you wrote, something that you did. Please, I want to share your contributions with other people.

funny mug 01
Maybe don’t share
this content lol

I can’t believe how many people I’m connected to who never, and I mean EVER, share anything of their own. I can’t even just go to their blogs to see what they might be producing because they don’t link to their blogs anywhere. I used to think it meant that lots of those folks didn’t have blogs but in my research (I can be a pitbull as it pertains to research sometimes) I find that at least half the people who don’t list their blog anywhere actually has a blog.

Why do I stay connected to those folks? Because sometimes they share something I’m interested in. I’ll read it and sometimes share it… but I don’t always give them credit for sharing it to begin with. That might seem cruel in a way, but what I do instead is look to see who created the article and I’ll add their name to the link instead. I think it’s fairer to share “talent” than share “shares”, if that makes sense.

I often wonder why people don’t share their own stuff. If they’re ashamed of it, why create it? I do know there are some people who don’t create anything that want to share things they see, especially as it pertains to politics or social issues. I guess that’s fine, but there’s little of that stuff I’m sharing with my group, since I have my own sense of things I’d rather share in that arena.

Still, I’m tired of seeing every other post going to Huffington Post or Inc or Forbes or… well, you name a popular website. I’m thinking those folks really don’t need all that much publicity… but you might benefit from getting some. Think about it.

I’m also tired of people sharing things on LinkedIn that they created that never say anything about what they’re sharing. Except for my initial post from this blog and my business blog, if I ever share anything else on LinkedIn I offer my opinion on it when I share it, or ask a question that I hope someone responds to, even my own posts.

Not Sharing The Content Of Others

So you’re not marketing, just sharing all your own blog posts; well, that’s something I suppose. Hey, I’ve got between 4,000 and 5,000 articles online, which means I could probably share just stuff I’ve created and not recycle a single thing after even a year. Sure, all of those things aren’t top quality, but would it matter if I just wanted to talk about myself all the time?

I read a lot every day. I visit all sorts of blogs, and I read articles in all sorts of places. One of the reasons I like Flipboard so much is because I can pick a category and have it show me both popular sites and sites that might not be as popular, but have owners who are on Flipboard sharing their articles. Sometimes it’s other people sharing their articles also; that’s pretty cool.

If people can do that on Flipboard, why can’t they do that on other social media platforms? For instance, I’m sharing a blog post written by a lady named Amy White titled How We Paid Off $293,000 in Debt in Five Years that I liked a lot. She has just over 1,250 followers, her blog is ranked around 5 million via Alexa, and I found it a fascinating post. I think a lot of other people will benefit from reading it, so I’m sharing it, and I feel good about it.

By the way, if you are actually sharing other people’s content and making it look like you’re sharing your own… shame on you! Not only is it misleading, but you can’t even take the time to share the names or handles of the people whose posts you’re sharing, especially if they supply it, so they can get a bit of extra bounce and feel good about what they’ve done? Shaking my head and wagging my finger… lol

As I said earlier, it’s not all about me. I want to share other people’s content, and I want to help showcase them in the best light. But if they’re irritating, or they’re not sharing any of their content, or they’re just being selfish… it’s not going to happen.

That would be a major shame. What do you think?
 

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Memorial Day, The News And Social Media

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 30, 2016

Even though I usually have a post on this blog every Monday, it turns out to be six years since I wrote anything related to Memorial Day, and even that post I had go live on a Sunday; that’s a shame!

Mom and Dad
Mom & Dad

For those who aren’t familiar with this particular American holiday, it’s always the last Monday of May and it’s a day dedicated to the memory of those who’ve given their lives in service to this country. It actually started out as a way to honor Union troops after the Civil War, then the Confederates got into it, and finally it became an overall holiday for all American troops in 1971.

The amazing thing about the Mitchell side of the family is that, though a lot of my relatives went into the service, not a single one ever lost his life though, to be fair, only 2 of my relatives were ever in war. That would be a cousin of mine who was in Vietnam and of course my dad, who was in both Korea and Vietnam.

You know, I’m one of those people who tends to believe that there are some things where everyone “has to” agree on the premise of something and the reason to honor someone. Memorial Day is one of those days because, in my opinion, without those people giving up their lives we wouldn’t have the life we have today. Sure, everything’s not perfect, but I can honestly say that I can’t think of another place I’d want to live in this world and I’m proud to be an American… and I’d hope others would be proud of living where they live.

Yet, because this country perceives itself to be free and diverse, we have people who go out of their way to go against the grain and either make trouble or say things that, in my opinion, are disrespectful. This past weekend’s new about memorial crosses damaged in 3 states is a perfect example of people going above and beyond protocol to be disruptive and show a major lack of class.

Not only that, but I’ve read commentary in some places where some people are saying that anyone who gives their life for this country got what they deserved… are you kidding me? To be against war is one thing; to say that people deserved what they got for protecting their country, especially these days with terrorism… unconscionable!

Luckily for me, it seems that 97% of the populace seems to be ready to honor our soldiers the way they deserve, and I can live with that. One of those things I try to tell people about social media is that it draws all types, but we need to figure out how to only absorb the good and try to get away from the bad as quickly as possible. It’s one reason I’ve sculpted my Facebook page to the degree I have and why I’ve been working on doing the same with LinkedIn lately.

I’m of two opinions when it comes to social media and free speech.

The first is that you can have free speech if you’re willing to deal with the consequences.

The second is that just because someone has the right to free speech doesn’t mean I have to listen to it, let alone have them in my life.

We all get to make choices in our life that will either positively impact us or negatively impact others. In the United States, we got those choices because a great many of soldiers, some willingly, others unwillingly, gave their lives on the battlefield so we can enjoy a lot of the liberties we probably take for granted.

If you know me or have read this blog or my business blog you know that I fully feel that this country isn’t always fair and equal, especially when it comes to minorities. But everyone’s equal in a military cemetery; it’s not something I’ve ever looked forward to but it explains why I feel those men and women deserve being honored no matter what.

This is my tribute to those brave soldiers of all wars the United States has participated in. Thank you for your service.
 

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