The Sweets In A Jar Conundrum … Is LinkedIn The New Facebook?

9th May 2014 · Kevin Howes

sweetie jar

Once confined to the likes of fun-fairs and school fetes, ‘guess the number of sweets in the jar’ is having an unusual renaissance.

When it first started appearing on LinkedIn feeds it was mildly amusing … the fifteenth time – significantly less so. ‘Guess a country without the letter A’, ‘Maths quizzes for geniuses’ and ‘Write the first word you see’ crosswords have become an equally unwelcomed occurrence.

LinkedIn positions itself as the ‘business oriented social network’, a place where professionals can connect, support and share sector focused content with like minded individuals. As a primarily professional resource, profiles replicate résumés, portfolio functions display creative work and the references feature validates skill sets. LinkedIn is a place where professionals go to be found, void of dinner shots and innumerable selfies.

But what was once exclusively occupied with informative and targeted content, engaging and entertaining blog posts or insightful infographics, is starting to resemble that of my Facebook feed. LinkedIn has worked to brand itself distinctively from Facebook so is it really the best place for these aforementioned postings, and do they bring with them a loss of professional integrity? (We’ll make exceptions of course for charity postings, genuinely entertaining shares and the occasional seasonally inspired meme!)

What is perhaps most striking of all is the impressive levels of engagement these social postings generate. When a regurgitated ‘quiz’ (seen for the fifth time that week), receives in excess of 60,000 comments, it’s difficult not to be slightly jaded. Why do these posts, of such little value, attract so much attention and social engagement? Is it our innate competitive nature, or is it simply because (for now at least), LinkedIn is the only social network that many can be forgiven for perusing in core hours, and has consequently become the target of intense procrastination?

Monday marked eleven years since LinkedIn’s launch and the site now boasts approximately 300 million professional users. Taking into account that just a year ago that number was around 200m, it’s seeing some impressive recent growth. With its expanding user base, the arrival of University pages, Facebook style notifications and LinkedIn’s recently lowered age barrier, the once clear distinction between the ‘go-to site for professional networkers’ and Facebook, is starting to blur. And is it only a matter of time until Kittens, GIFs and Buzzfeed lists (as much as we love them) become a regular LinkedIn feature?

Staying professional? 

Unlike Facebook however, the ‘hide’ option on the social feed keeps connections hidden for good. So users with a tendency to post constant and irrelevant content (you know who you are!) run the risk of significantly limiting their target audience.

Social media activity and trends are constantly changing and our current preoccupation with guessing candy content may soon be passé….but for the moment LinkedIn, we’re eternally grateful for your handy filter feature!!