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I've got LinkedIn fatigue
So I am exploring different paths
I started this piece by wanting to share where I am hanging out online, and the subsequent thought turned it into a deeper dive into the future of social media. Which is a conversation worth having…enjoy!
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LinkedIn has evolved massively over the past few years, going from an online CV and broadcast tool to a full-on professional community. I used to only “connect” with people I knew, now I follow (and am followed by) people I have never met. Users who were driven away from the ethics of Meta and Twitter are popping up on LinkedIn now. People have cottoned on to what an amazing tool it can be once you stop lurking and put yourself out there.
And yet, I have LinkedIn fatigue. In recent weeks I find myself pulling away from it. I am due a big edit on my following to curate my feed, but over the past few months, there’s been a distinct shift in what I’m seeing over there.
I am trying to put my finger on exactly what feels different, and I think it comes down to seeing a lot of the same content rinsed and repeated and a lot of instructional content. Too many listicles, clickbait intros and hot takes.
(And I fully accept my role in this - I shared my hot take on AI just a week ago).
So, I’m exploring different paths, communities and information sources. I’m sharing them here, as there’s a whole world of social networks beyond Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. And maybe you’d like to explore them too - and just maybe, you might find they are places where your customers hang out.
Reddit. It’s not just for nerds.
I love Reddit to the extent that I often have to delete the app to stop myself from spending too much time on there. It describes itself as a network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions. I’d describe it as a less-toxic Twitter where I follow interests rather than people*
I first got into Reddit through my hair and my hobbies. I have wavy hair and follow a version of the Curly Girl method. Someone told me there’s a Reddit community (called a subreddit) for each hair type, and another person told me there’s a booming aerial circus community there too.
I’ve since joined communities for cats, historical houses, women’s health, my favourite films and TV shows, collecting vinyl and reducing waste. The communities around freelancing, writing and marketing aren’t as active, but they are there and worth following.
For the most part, the communities I’ve picked are happy places. So when I want to see funny cat photos, find out what everyone thinks of The White Lotus and get an insight into human behaviour, Reddit is my go-to.
*There’s definitely a dark side to Reddit, just as there is with all social platforms. However, I find it very easy to opt out of the bad stuff by sticking with the communities I have chosen.
Slack and Discord. For closed communities.
I’ve used Slack at work for years for messaging and sending files. I love it as a tool to replace unnecessary email.
Over the past three years, I’ve been a member of various freelance and business communities that use Slack as a comms tool. What I love about these closed communities is that they are a safe space. I am unlikely to share my absolute worst business fears and moments on LinkedIn, but I would on REALWORK.
In theory, you can search for Slack “workspaces”, but all the ones I know of are invite-only and part of a wider subscription. So that’s the downside.
Discord is similar to Slack, it’s invite-only and a chat-based community. I originally heard about it as a voice-based platform but that’s not the case now.
I’m in a couple of writing communities that use Discord as a hangout and info space, and I’m a big fan of the Below Radar community on there.
I’m seeing more and more of my business community starting a Substack, and I love it. I like the blend of blog and newsletter and I like having my subscriptions in one place, which isn’t my inbox.
I really wanted Medium to be like this, except no one I knew was using it. So, I still read and write on there, but Substack is where I come to get long-form content from people I know.
What does it all mean?
These platforms have choice, privacy and community in common, which is definitely the way things are going in marketing. It’s certainly at odds with buying giant lists of email addresses or targeting aggressive online ads to absolutely everyone and hoping that something sticks.
However, if you’re reading this and thinking you need to go off and start a subreddit or Slack group of people to sell to - please don’t. Commercialising spaces where people congregate around a specific subject needs to be handled with absolute care, or they will eventually leave.
Have a look at the Huel subreddit as a good example of letting customers create a community around your product. The brand’s involvement is limited to responding to customer support issues and new product launches (I’m sure this community is a huge source of intel for the Huel team too). It’s worth considering - what would your customers say about your brand in a closed community?