Pandemic’s Influence on Online Expression

The pandemic brought with it many consequences on how we express ourselves, especially online. Blurring the lines between work and home, many employees reprioritized their lives, giving more emphasis to well-being and family. As a result, workers have become comfortable getting personal on LinkedIn…

A Range of Personal Posts

Recently, many have been sharing engagement announcements on the professional platform from fertility journeys and cancer diagnoses to relationship statuses and funny pet moments. Though many post this content sparingly, some say it humanizes themselves to their professional network. Others say their stories tie in with lessons that could be applied to business, while some find the content annoying.

Social Media’s Shift Toward Text-Heavy Content

With the recent fall in popularity of X, formerly Twitter, and boring alternative Threads launched by Instagram, social media is creating needed room for text heavy content. And LinkedIn is available and thriving.

LinkedIn’s Rising User Engagement

Surge in User Engagement

LinkedIn says its user engagement doubled during the beginning of the pandemic and experienced a 40 percent rise between 2021 and 2023. The number of users who visit the site at least once a month is forecast to increase by more than 8 million to 84.1 million by 2027, with Gen Z serving as a major driver of growth, data from market research company Insider Intelligence shows. In that same period, Facebook users are expected to decline by 600,000 to 177.3 million, and Instagram’s users are forecast to grow by 20.2 million to 155.4 million.

LinkedIn’s Response: Algorithm Adjustments

As its user engagement increased during the pandemic so did its number of personal posts, but that has since slowed. To ensure people’s feeds stay useful, the company made changes to its algorithm. It now surfaces more posts from people’s direct connections and followers as well as those from people outside their networks that are grounded in professional knowledge and advice. Still, LinkedIn content is mirroring a larger societal shift that is happening in the workplace.

Benefits and Controversy of Personal Sharing

Embracing Vulnerability

Users who choose to be more vulnerable on LinkedIn say that sharing parts of their personal lives has benefited them. They are able to reveal their authentic selves, relate to others and often receive meaningful responses from their followers.

Personal Stories for Professional Growth

For Rachel B. Lee, a 35-year-old co-owner and chief marketing officer of marketing firm StandOut Authority, sharing personal experiences online is imperative to building a successful brand, including hers. She recently posted a photo of herself crying in her car coupled with the story behind the photo: She was grieving the third canceled transfer during her in vitro fertilization journey. In the post, she stresses the importance of mental health and offers tips.

Surely, there are some examples where being too personal on a professional platform becomes a little too much. But as with most cases of choosing to post content – it is all contextual. According to social media and business experts, the efficacy of the post all depends on what you’re trying to convey and how you do it. Research shows that people get positive mental effects from expressing personal elements about themselves to others.

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