Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

My answer to a Quora question: Is it acceptable to be apolitical on LinkedIn?

In this answer, I addressed the question’s original poster (hereafter referred to as “OP”) who stated, “I have been on LinkedIn for years. I no longer feel that I belong there anymore because I came there to network for jobs rather than to discuss politics or religion… I have been struggling to find work, but LinkedIn no longer appears to be an option.” I described the general state of LinkedIn, from my own personal experience, at Is it acceptable to be apolitical on LinkedIn? by Lynn Patra. An excerpt of my answer follows:

…Conventional wisdom has it that, not only is it supposed to be acceptable to be apolitical on LinkedIn, it is also supposed to be advantageous because one doesn’t always know what political leaning one’s potential employer or client has.

Regarding the OP’s comment to this question, I’d affirm that there are enough individuals who drag politics into conversations that they have a noticeable impact on LinkedIn. And, by the way, I don’t care about the ones who post to the public feed but the ones who do this in private messages are irritating. It’s the individuals in these one-on-one interactions, within private messages, who (whether intentionally or not) put pressure on others, trying to nick away at those who’re silent and intend to keep an apolitical appearance. This can be frustrating, depending on how one responds to peer pressure.

What makes this situation difficult is that (1.) social norms appear to have drastically changed so that people introduce their political views at the drop of a hat now and (2.) sometimes people don’t even have any idea that they’ve inserted political buzzwords and content into their professional correspondence.

I have asked people pointed questions about if they realize they just “got political” in their second, third, etc. getting-to-know-you message to me and I’m quite surprised that a good number of people can’t distinguish political content from “How’s the weather there?” queries anymore. The most dominant political ideas have effectively melded into popular culture so that some people can’t distinguish the difference.

I can see how this would be overwhelming for those who try to remain apolitical or whose views run counter to dominant views and ideas. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to reverse this tide and, to keep oneself from going insane, the easiest thing to do is, unfortunately, contribute to the increasing “tribalism” by sorting people out according to whether or not they’ll leave you alone on the matter of politics.

I’ve told myself that I can’t take the time to make each and every person aware of how they allow their politics to seep into supposed “professional” conversations. So, more often than not, I wordlessly “ghost” the person after the first time they insert politics into their conversations with me and just try to surround myself with those who don’t need to discuss politics [at a personal level with me].

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2 responses to “My answer to a Quora question: Is it acceptable to be apolitical on LinkedIn?

  1. Loquitur Veritatem September 7, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I know that you aren’t ascribing the politicization of LinkedIn to leftists, but I suspect that most (all?) of the political views that are introduced “at the drop of a hat” are left-wing. As you say, this seems to be done unwittingly because “the most dominant political ideas have effectively melded into popular culture”. Quite true. Decades of indoctrination in left-wing views by public-school teachers, college professors, movies, TV shows, and the “news” media have succeeded in shifting popular opinion well to the left of where it stood in, say, 1950. After all of that, it is surprising that the electorate is split 50-50 between left and right. That so many Americans have resisted brainwashing is a monument to independence of thought.

    • LP September 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      Yes, ALL of the people who drop their political views into their private “professional” getting-to-know-you correspondence are leftists. I’ve never received presumptuous messages from members of any other political leaning in fact.

      The original poster of this question was alluding to the public feed which features more of a variety of political and religious views (along with math problems which I omitted from my post simply because I’m not aware of any social movement designed to make mathematicians out of us). I’m less bothered by the various content on the public feed since it’s less targeted, not at a personal level, and easier to ignore.

      This has been a vicious cycle with various social media companies sending me leftist content to publish (which I’ve been rejecting with an explanation to them) along with the people who consume this type of content and turn into the very people who drop politics into their messages.

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