Blurring the Lines on LinkedIn

I noticed something interesting yesterday. Like any other day, I had clicked over to an article, and after reading the article, I saw some of the comments being made about it. Mind you, the comments sections of many major news sites are generally the kind of place I would think about wondering into only when I felt like I had too much optimism about the human race and needed to quell that a bit. But something in there caught my eye, and made me wonder about something. I decided I needed to take a sample.

So I went back to the “headlines” area and looked for obvious political or cultural stories. The kind that usually attract the real trolls. Sure enough, they were there. There were posts spouting political positions of all kinds, personal attacks against other commenters, folks who felt no qualms about spouting hateful opinions about overweight people and on and on.

The only difference on this site, was that the articles being commented on were in the “influencers” section of LinkedIn, and all of the commenters were identified using their LinkedIn profile and the company they work for was listed right there, with their comments.

Talk about a way to really give your company a bad name. Talk about a way to run afoul of your company’s social media policies. Talk about an easy way to find yourself fired, or find your company being boycotted, or talk about a way for your company to face a PR nightmare. This isn’t some random website where you appear as some anonymous person and it would require a ton of work to track you down. This is freaking LinkedIn!

I avoid making just about any political or social comments here because a lot of people do know where I work, and it’s easy to find out if you don’t. Plus I really don’t think it’s possible to have intelligence conversations about either online, but I surely would never say anything close to controversial when my title and company are attached to it! Obviously, not everyone has really thought this through.

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