Over recent weeks, I’ve aired my views about LinkedIn to my network.
I’ve made the point that — while I see great value in LinkedIn as a means for connecting with other professionals and mapping out organizations — I think that in too many other respects it’s become a toxic breeding ground for jealousy, humble-bragging, and virtue-signalling.
I refer, to the most part, for the LinkedIn feed and not to other aspects of the platform. There is good there. But a lot of bad. So I’ve come to the conclusion that carefully curating the feed is essential to maintaining equanimity while browsing its contents.
(And it must be pointed out: for all the self-aggrandizing promotion, there are worthy and important conversations being held there).
Why I Really Can’t Do LinkedIn Anymore
Is Content Curation The Key To Staying Sane In Today’s World?
What Does Bragging on LinkedIn Actually Achieve?
Is There Any Point To Signalling Your Achievements?
One of the many features of the LinkedIn feed that has been ticking me off recently is the growing trend of people posting a corporate gift hamper along with some cringeworthy ode to their boss and/or employer.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the usual formulation is something like this:
Why I Will Not Be Posting Gift Pics
I’m not refraining from client gift hampers because I don’t get any.
Surprisingly, nice clients do buy their freelance writers gift baskets and other niece things around holiday time (I also, when appropriate, try to reciprocate the favor).
Instead, I just think that this is another one of the many features of LinkedIn that doesn’t make the world a better place. And which I will therefore refuse to participate in so long as it’s a viable option for me to do so.
For one, I think that gifts should remain nice private gestures between a business and their staff.
It’s lovely that many organizations are in a position to reward their staff albeit in this small manner. But — after a brutal year in business for many — surely there are many organizations that can’t afford this small luxury, let alone to keep their doors open?
As with many facets of LinkedIn, the result is thus to simply create jealousy and a dismal contest among companies who are trying to outdo one another with the best gift hampers.
Judging by the gift hamper photos that crop up like mushrooms around this time of year, I can also only assume that many HR managers and departments are creating the expectation that their staff will post the hampers, with some laudatory words about the company, on LinkedIn. If not an ode to one’s “great boss” then it’s typically an exclamation of “how well taken care of” one feels as an employee.
HR departments using this strategy are effectively using their employees as advertising billboards.
Employees who play the game of their own volition and post about how wonderful their company is for sending them a gift are only playing into the above. At least in my (highly partisan) view.
While it’s a nice gesture, sending your employees a gift hamper does not make a company a “great place to work.” It’s a minor perk.
Finally, of course, posts like this fail the “who cares?” test.
Those sharing gift hamper photos are contributing absolutely no value to the lives of anybody unfortunate enough to stumble upon them.
Or maybe I’m just that rare breed of misanthrope that is insensitive to these things and isn’t excited to know that somebody I once met at a conference five years ago received a nice bottle of peanuts and some honey for the holidays from their employer.
I’m going to enjoy some peanuts and wine that I purchased for myself!
I will not be posting the photo on social!