It’s election day and Paul Petrone’s post popped into my LinkedIn pulse feed. And this post isn’t about his, it’s about the reaction to it. The post has been viewed almost 5,000 times and the comments section is (still) exploding with dozens of replies to Paul and other LinkedIn members. They read like the comment sections on CNN, Fox News, Huff Politics and so many others, spiked with sarcasm, profanity and ‘clever’ back and forths, but there’s a major difference: this is the professional network.
You’re on LinkedIn for professional positioning, right? I am.
If you’re on LinkedIn you, (or most of as anyways), are shaping a professional presence online. This is part of your personal brand – you marketing yourself online, and on LinkedIn your audience is colleagues, clients, perspective clients and employers of the past and future.
Some of the most profane and inflammatory comments, lit up with personal attacks on the author and some even on the President of the United States, were posted by senior level executives in different specialty fields. A principal attorney at a law firm, a business development executive, an accounting professional, all who are probably looking for more clients on LinkedIn.
Do we really want our clients, perspectives, employers and anyone from our HR department to see us slinging mud live and uncut online? (Note: The answer here should always be NO.)
And worse, when most of us type mad there’s at least one glaring typo.
Even if you aren’t slinging the mud, if you express a political stance at all, do you really want to risk alienating potential clients or employers who are equally passionate about their political values? How is your political position related to your professional position?
You are an extension of your employer and their brand. Remember them?
The other undeniable truth about LinkedIn is that unless you’re a contractor or freelancer, you are an extension of a business and a brand beyond your own. Like it or not, all of your likes, comments and posts become associated with your employer and actively circulate through the feeds of managers and customers who power through the networking site daily.
And, like it or not, your company may have a Social Media policy about what you can or cannot publicly post online; many times demanding that employees ditch a dialogue on religion and politics.
Tonight I’ll jet to my local polling center from a company dinner to vote, and, I won’t be telling anyone at work or on LinkedIn about what I toss in that ballot box. I vote no on posting about politics on LinkedIn.
But what do you think? Should professionals monitor how they post about and respond to political postings on LinkedIn?