What do you need to do when an online platform intended for professional networking and growing your career turns into a nuance to your everyday life?
You need to cut it.
As my disdain for social media continues to grow more and more each day, I am very, albeit a bit alarmingly, obsessed with the idea of living a social media free life. It is a personal revolution to actively choose to opt-out from the noise of online platforms and cultivate life on one’s own terms.
After deleting my Facebook account back in 2012, my Instagram and Snapchat in 2013, and my Twitter in 2017, LinkedIn was my last standing social media account until very recently.
. . .
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking site with more than 562 million users worldwide, was not a nuance when I first joined, mainly because I was too busy curating 140-character tweets to pay much attention to networking and career advancement opportunities.
After quitting Twitter towards the end of my graduate studies, I started to get serious about my career path and turned my attention to LinkedIn, which promised to connect me with the world’s professionals for success.
I spent a good amount of time setting up my profile to make it look professional. I read countless articles on tips and tricks to makes LinkedIn profiles stand out to potential employers. I updated my summary page, added a description for each work and volunteer experiences I had listed, and even added some certifications I received.
I wanted my LinkedIn profile to show that I was a career-minded, passionate, and productive individual.
. . .
Soon after setting up my LinkedIn profile, and following enough people to cultivate a decent home feed, however, I found myself spending more and more time on the app.
I became preoccupied with posting on LinkedIn to virtual signal to my followers that I was a passionate, productive, and professional individual. I was careful as to what content I liked and shared, and more accurately, whose content I liked and shared. It was satisfying to look at my profile and the ideal professional subject I curated online.
I got a rush of excitement at the red notification icon signalling someone liked my post, a fleeting but gratifying feeling. I longed for the rush one gets from the social validations of likes and comments. It made me feel important that someone took the time to let me know they liked my post.
This, surely, must be a form of mild narcissism, but I digress.
. . .
What began as a way to curate a professional image and career opportunities soon turned into a slight addiction.
I found myself obsessively opening and refreshing my homepage in the hopes of finding something mildly interesting to like and share, or to see how many views my posts were getting, or whether I had any new followers or likes and comments.
I was compulsively visiting my homepage, and most of the time I didn’t even know what I was looking to achieve. I also found myself on LinkedIn when I was avoiding doing important things and needed a distraction.
For a while, I justified having my account because of the professional goals I had. Most of the content on LinkedIn was related to career development and networking opportunities, such as job postings, events, and other useful information people shared. I was creating opportunities to network with people in my career field and make myself marketable to potential employers, which was, of course, only partially true.
. . .
Soon after, I realized LinkedIn was just as much of a distraction from real life as other social media platforms.
The catalyst for deleting my account was, however, the annoyance and anxiousness I would feel at some of the contents shared on my feed, or what I refer to as the noise. I would wake up, open the LinkedIn app, and scroll through my newsfeed just to feel dread at the state of the world.
This was the main reason I decided to quit Twitter. I got tired of being bombarded by negative and outrageous news every day of my waking life, especially when all I could do was retweet it. Add to that the number of people on any given online platform, and the noise became deafening.
Once again, I wanted to reclaim my time, attention, and peace of mind, so I deleted my LinkedIn account. There were, indeed, some opportunities that arise from LinkedIn, but it was no longer worth the attention and time it costed me.
It now feels good to wake up every morning and not get aggravated by the noise from scrolling through my newsfeed. Instead, I wake up to my own thoughts and feelings, and I no longer desire to be distracted from them.
. . .
Well, I lied.
I created a duplicate of my previous LinkedIn profile that functions purely as an online resume, with no followers and newsfeed to waste time on chasing instant gratification and validation from virtual people.
I haven’t logged in since I set it up a couple months back. I do plan on logging back in if I need to update my resume. Until then, I’m enjoying a newsfeed-free morning filled with silence, contemplation, and boredom.