2018 was a banner year for LinkedIn.
In 2017, LinkedIn crossed the 500 million member mark, and it seemed that ever since then, it had suddenly become sexy.
Weekly users became daily users, and the content seemed way more relevant than many other social platforms.
LinkedIn knew who it was and where it was going.
But there was one problem that still lurked: the LinkedIn Appropriateness Police (LAP).
The LAP remained ever steady and vigilant in its battle to fight anything deemed "unprofessional" in this social marketplace. Any exchange of ideas or information had better have something to do with work; otherwise, you'll get a swift tsk-tsk in the form of a snarky comment or two.
If you've joined the LAP or were a member in the past, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider retiring your badge for good in 2018:
1. Work spills over and doesn't look like it used to. Work is messy. It doesn't stay within the confines of an office building from 9am to 5pm. Work goes home with us whether we want it to or not. Merely saying, "that isn't the kind of thing that belongs on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is for professional insights only" isn't true anymore because work affects every area of our lives, even the banalest. If someone wants to post what they had for breakfast, let them be. Those kinds of posts tell a full story about who they are and what types of things may/may not impact their work and professional lives.
2. Inspiration can come from anywhere. It doesn't just come from a guy named Oleg who seems to always be, inexplicably, at the top of my news feed. It comes from leaders in many different industries. It comes from the movies we watch, the art we consume, the experiences we have with our children. Those types of things are incredibly important to the world of work and absolutely have a place on LinkedIn.
3. Social media has changed. Social media channels, though each have their own personality and usefulness, are no longer the strict social constructs created to keep us in touch with our Aunt Sally or our boss, respectively. They've become just as complex as human relationships. Family is now on LinkedIn. Friends are on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is no longer you and your business network. It has expanded its networking usefulness to envelop the many complicated relationships we may have in our lives.
It's important to remember that on LinkedIn, nearly every interaction, like, comment, share on your news feed is broadcast to all of your connections.
Your LAP badge can be seen from across the room.
Respectfully interact with others, and you'll do just fine in 2019.
Do you ever see the LAP in action? Tell me about it on Twitter and follow me at @mareejones.