special

sorry LinkedIn, I’m just not that special

There is a quirk to human nature where we want to fit in with everyone else and simultaneously stand out. We want to be just like everyone only more special so we find all sorts of ways of being better and validating our uniqueness.

As much of a rare and special purple unicorn snowflake I like to think I am, I know there are many others like me. Mathematically, if I’m in the top 1% in any category, there are roughly 70 million others on this planet who are at least as good. Heck, there are 3 million in the US alone.

Social media has done a great job of leveraging this psychological need: You have a new follower! (Can you believe it – someone likes me?!) Someone retweeted one of your tweets! (Holy cow, I must be special – they really like me and they think I’m a supergenius). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that someone else thinks that my thoughts might be useful – please keep following, retweeting, etc. – I’m just not convinced that it’s always an exclamation point kind of moment.

I, like many others, recently received notice from LinkedIn that my profile was in the top 10% of those visited. My thoughts rapidly went from Huh, that’s kind of cool to Are they sure? Really? to Man, they’re screwed if I’m top 10%.

Why are they screwed?

I don’t have that many connections. Not really, not at all. I’m pretty sure any mediocre sales person, recruiter, or social butterfly has more connections than me.

I’m not looking for a job so it’s not as if I’m doing anything to attract people to my profile.

No recruiters are calling me so it’s not like people are seeking me out.

Uhhhh, so if I have such little activity, why am I in the top 10%? AND if I’m top 10% where do all those poor folks who are trying to use LinkedIn to find work rate?

AND if I’m hitting the top 10% what meaning could this measure possibly have? What outcomes are happening as a result of my extraordinary accomplishment?

AND if I’m so unspecially special, where is LinkedIn making its money and who isn’t getting a return on their investment?

Oh wait!

Hang on, top 10% of 200 million users is 20 million. Yep, not that special.

What thinks you?

 


 

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