Be Careful What You See On Social Media, Even LinkedIn

An interesting episode about social media and how people rate the different social media platforms. Most people are rightly suspicious of platforms like Badoo and even Facebook. Yet, most of us think the ‘serious’ social platforms like LinkedIn are infallible. The information there is assumed correct, and so people on LinkedIn believe they are networking with genuine professionals, entrepreneurs, and business people.

The following story on LinkedIn suggests otherwise

A few weeks ago I changed my role to CEO of one of the world’s largest enterprise. With this I wanted to test my assumption that people would critically assess the authenticity of information this social network. I was curious to see the effect.

I noticed that there is a huge trust in the accuracy of LinkedIn profiles. When you compare LinkedIn to twitter, Facebook or Instagram you see that people tend to post serious and correct information on LinkedIn. On twitter I can be “CyberGoofbal83” and post all kinds of facts and lies just to amuse my followers. On Facebook we tend to be partly serious and humorous.

I changed my Job title and employer overnight from “Manager Development of AMIS” to “CEO of Shell”. And the following things happened:

I received almost 400 likes and 80 customized comments.I got more than 500 emails with a personal message.10 of my closest co-workers called within 2 hours.I got almost 25 text messages.I spontaneously received 10 CV’s and requests for a job at my new company.2 offshore companies sent me an email to get an appointment as soon as possible.

What have I learned?

There is a huge difference in trust on the accuracy of the content between different social networks. Even though the validation of new content is done with the same accuracy the LinkedIn network offers a higher implicit trust in the validity of the content compared to other networks.

Most people trust what they read on LinkedIn. Even though it is in conflict with their gut feeling; “when it is on there, it must be true.”

Be critical of what you read on the Internet.

I realized that there can be a huge difference between what someone can write down and the actual achievements of a person. What you read on LinkedIn could be the result of window dressing or just a plain lie. Performing a background check when hiring a new candidate is always a good idea.

Robbrecht van Amerongen is a Business Innovation Manager


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