• The Baffler


Updated: Jun 10

Excerpt from 'All LinkedIn and Nowhere to Go', by Ann Friedman

'And in the frenetic world of just-in-time professional connectivity, LinkedIn’s vision of the listicled life is more and more the norm. Just take, for example, another recent influencer post by another social media guru, Dave Kerpen, who helms a network concern bearing the ominously bland name of Likeable Local:

'In reviewing his own tenure as a regular contributor to the LinkedIn news site, LinkedIn Today, Kerpen runs the pageview numbers and, in short order, blows his own mind. The twenty-eight posts he has contributed since the fall of 2012, Kerpen reports, “have generated over 5 million page views, a staggering number by any standard.” But the real wonderment here, he observes, is the ridiculously high level of reader engagement he’s earned in the site’s “new media empire”: on average, he’s logged “over 600 comments and over 10 thousand shares per post. My top post, ‘11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader,’ has generated over 5 thousand comments.”

'Of course it has. If you click over to Kerpen’s all-time most commented post, you see yet another listicle culled from the chapter headings of his book Likeable Business. There’s this comically self-deconstructing morsel from Oprah Winfrey, for instance: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” Or perhaps you’d prefer something more aggressive and imperial in the way of business advice, such as this Navy SEAL mantra: “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” Not quite spiritual enough? All right, how about G. K. Chesterton, reminding you that “gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”?

'Kerpen’s self-singing fable of media success, in other words, ultimately has a chilling moral—you can achieve unparalleled likeability on LinkedIn’s mammoth media platform, but at the considerable cost of surrendering anything that might remotely resemble a coherent or challenging message to the LinkedIn masses'

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