Is The Algorithm Messing With Us?
Welcome to this weeks episode in a baron week for news I’ve been noticing some subtle changes that suggest LinkedIn might be testing out falsely boosting the distribution of reshares – this got me thinking about a much broader issue about how much LinkedIn try to control our behaviour. More of that later, firstly..
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
The LinkedIn world has been very quiet this week but outside of that, I did spot this interesting acquisition which provides the funding for the launch of a new business social network. It’s pretty normal to find news of a startup that claims to be ‘the new rival’ to LinkedIn but this one seems different in that they seem to have a clear exit strategy…to be acquired by LinkedIn.
Let’s face it, LinkedIn have failed with groups and they show no signs of understanding how to make them work again. So perhaps the solution should come from the outside, a fresh perspective from a company with no historical baggage. If Upstream can make communities and groups work then they could be the solution!
My only concern is that is could take too long to get Upstream to a position where LinkedIn would see them as a viable solution.
What do you think?
Feedback From Last Weeks Episode
John Espirian and a few others have contacted me to say they also had the email from LinkedIn regarding unsent messages. In Johns case, he has never had a premium account so these were not InMails! Most of the messages he lost were of no great damage because the thread continued with that person anyway. In all 13 DMs weren’t sent between 19 July 2018 and 5 June 2019.
Have you been affected? The emails still seem to be being sent so keep an eye out and if you get one, let me know.
Something I’m Pondering
I’m sure we are all familiar with the term ‘Know – Like – Trust’ but how does this apply to LinkedIn. How can we specifically achieve those three critical factors by using LinkedIn?
I have put a video post together about this for next week, here’s a screenshot;
Are LinkedIn trying to alter our behaviour through their algorithm and is this a good or a bad thing?
I’ve been noticing a change on LinkedIn over the last few weeks. I’m seeing a reasonable number of reshares that are actually doing quite well, sometimes better than the original. This isn’t unheard of but previously these incidents were outliers whereas now, my sense is that they are becoming more common. This reshare post I discovered this week is a more extreme example but typically of what I’m seeing;
870 reactions and 108 comments plus this reshare reached almost 400,000 people on LinkedIn! Ros Gray only has 448 followers and the rest of her posts gain very little traction. It’s not as if she added any value to the post with the simple intro ‘shots fired’
The original post was from Bill Hitchen who gained 161 reactions and just 23 comments and he has 609 followers!
How can this be happening? Maybe it’s just a freak, perhaps one of the early reactions or comments came from someone with an especially large and engaged following or maybe LinkedIn are falsely boosting reshares in an attempt to ‘teach’ us users to take more notice of reshares.
I suspect the latter.
This is clearly not the case for everyone, it’s only a limited test at the moment. I have had my posts reshared and I’ve even tried resharing a post myself….all with the same, normal dire results.
So this brings up a bigger question. Do LinkedIn believe, or even know, that they can change our behaviour and preferences by designing the algorithm to favour certain things.
Is this OK?
Maybe it’s for the best, after all, there is nothing wrong with resharing in principle and it’s always been an oddity that users have ignored them. Perhaps LinkedIn positive discrimination towards reshares will bring about a good change for all of us.
I’m not sure, it feels REALLY ‘icky’ and manipulative to me but maybe that always been their game and we are just to pawns in their game.
How vulnerable would you be on LinkedIn?
I’m not sure I would have the guts to go as far as Mark Gaisford did here but I massively admire him for doing so. It’s clearly a message that resonates with many people and posts like this really help people to see that what they are feeling is not unique and weird, many others feel the same. I know this video had that effect on me.
Mark does some great videos but this one tops them all for me. Highly relevant and engaging and clearly as authentic as you can get!
Mark has followed this up with an update post this week;
Great news for Mark and a post that I just had to have as this weeks post of the week.
I’ve heard that, in order to get my posts seen by more people, I need to post more personal content yet this is a professional network. Is this correct?
This is a great question to feature this week following on from the above video.
There is no doubt that on LinkedIn people react very well to content that is genuine, authentic and yes at times, quite ‘personal’
It’s important to understand that this isn’t a bad thing or ‘wrong’. The reality is that people do business with people because they feel they would like to work with them. Online relationships are formed by gaining a better understanding of who someone really is, not just their ‘business persona’ but the real person that they are.
Trust me, it’s a very hard concept to get your head around and not everyone will be able to do it but the evidence is clear, it works!
There is a possibility that it might not work for your audience, we all need to understand what works for our audience but be careful to not make assumptions, it’s easy to say “I don’t like it so others won’t either” Test it and judge by results.
I’m not saying you should do something you are really uncomfortable with, authenticity isn’t about playing to the crowd but sometimes we find things awkward and uncomfortable initially but find with practice, they become enjoyable.
That’s it for this week.
Keep writing in with your suggestions, observations and questions. I always hugely value your input