Over the past few years, I have (for the most part) been absent from LinkedIn because I have had a lot of other things on my plate - screenwriting, more education, house renovations, etc. to name a few examples. Since I have only been on the site off and on during that time, I didn't really pay much attention to the technical and visual changes that have happened, nor scrolled through posts that members have posted on the main page. Since I have recently returned to reorganize and rewrite my profile in order to open myself up to possible employment opportunities, I have taken the time to look deeper at the technical and visual changes that have occurred. They appear to be good decisions.
Unfortunately, something unsettling and off-putting has occurred in my absence. For the most part, I remembered that I enjoyed reading and/or going through the posts that members posted on the main page. They were mostly business-oriented with the occasional light fare (non-tasteless jokes, cute animals, etc.) and thought-of-the-day posts. Looking over this feed on a daily basis, now that I have returned and spent more time on the site, this once benign, collaborative, helpful, business-oriented place where people turn to help each other get ahead and make a better life for themselves, has had a very sinister, unsettling element added to it: divisive politics.
Maybe it has something to do with the current state of politics in the US. Maybe some people can't stand what is happening and are venting in every orifice of the internet so they can have their voice heard because they think that their voices aren't being heard. Maybe it incenses them so much that they can't separate business from politics. Maybe they have nowhere else to turn to vent. Maybe their spouses have heard enough and banned all talk of divisive politics in their houses so they turn to the internet. Maybe they are trying to gauge the political pulse of America. Maybe they are profiling to hire and/or work with people who have the same political views as they do. I don't know. All I know is that I thought LinkedIn was a social business platform to connect employers to employees that revolved around the world of work - not a place to belittle others because of their political preference or trumpet pushing politicians off cliffs or running over them with tanks.
The members of LinkedIn are here to work together to make business work, enhance our lives, be a success and make a contribution to the world through business. It seems that those fundamentals have been lost by some members. Perhaps they got the wrong idea of what LinkedIn was supposed to be when they joined. It's not Facebook, Twitter or Instagram where every expletive and grossly concocted post under the sun can be viewed. This is a business-oriented social network - not a place to post far-out there incendiary political views. Honestly, do you think any reasonable potential employer or employee is going to work with you after you post "LOL" as a response to someone's post of a cartoon of a politician being decapitated?
There is nothing wrong with political discussion in a business setting when the politics have a definitive outcome and consequence on business. For example, posting, discussing and encouraging discussion on the TPP is absolutely important for business. The problem is that some people cannot keep it out of the gutter and the discussion ends up denigrating into mud slinging because people on both sides of the political spectrum have deep, deep festering opinions on their opponents political views that have nothing to do with the TPP.
Decorum, professionalism and above all, neutrality when it comes to potential employers/employees' political views should be every member's goal on LinkedIn. In fact, politics shouldn't even be a part of the discussion. LinkedIn should be a political-free zone. We are here to network - not sling mud, nor bludgeon other people over the head with our political views to score some kind of twisted personal political points that make us feel warm and fuzzy that we and our opinions have been acknowledged. If your life's duty is to constantly engage people in vitriolic political discussion to get a rise out of them, please do it elsewhere. I'm here to work - you should be too.
I don't care who you voted for in the last election. I don't care who your parents voted for in the last century. I don't care who your children will vote for. I don't care what political party you volunteered for when you were in high school. I don't care who you sleep with. I don't care what country you're from. I don't care what organized religion you are a member of. All I care about on LinkedIn is that we can do business and help each other further our careers. Period.