Social media is a lot of work. Keeping up appearances and ensuring your profiles reflect your inner quirks and nonchalantly highlight your cool factor is time consuming. Gone are the days of a simple life. You don't just need to work, make Dubsmach videos, pay your bills, watch Netflix and think about doing yoga; you need to keep up with everyone on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat. In the rampant growing sea of social media platforms flooding every digital screen, every swiping finger, one seems to stand out precisely because it doesn't require constant consideration. In other words, you don't need to be your best self-you can just be.
For many millennials LinkedIn is easy and stress free. It doesn't demand constant love and attention. It's not even your go to when you have a couple minutes of downtime and want to mindlessly scroll through perfectly filtered photos and funny memes. Apart from the occasional searching through all the "people you may know" section and connecting with everyone you know (appropriately), or would like to know, LinkedIn doesn't gnaw at your need to be different, inventive and effortlessly awesome. Slap your resume on that bad-boy, connect with everyone you can and bam. You're building your network and developing the connections you can call upon when you're in an employment jam or just want to get a leg up. You can also keep tabs on almost everyone you know (and used to know), and we all know we're suckers for that.
LinkedIn is also a wonderful resource for all your etiquette fails.
"So, what do you do?"
It's the infamous question you're bound to ask during the first minute of meeting someone new. It might come after how do you know [insert mutual friend's name], where are you from or even the outdated, and really you should never ask, come here often?
There are several etiquette books and articles written about this subject. Don't you dare ask someone this question in Europe and why, oh dear why, are Americans so obsessed with everyone's resume?
The obvious answer is we want to create an "accurate" picture of our new acquaintance in our mind, AKA we want to judge them. Regardless of whether we should be asking this question or not, indisputably we are.
When Facebook and Instagram fail to educate you on where that girl from middle school who went to Harvard is working these days, or what amazing job that dorky guy from high school has, since he's always traveling the world and you know his family didn't have that much money, LinkedIn is your friend.
LinkedIn won't just inform you of where your new friend works, it will tell you what graduate program she ended up attending and what positions she held at what companies. Then you can recall other acquaintances you know that work there and try to imagine how much better her life must be than yours.
LinkedIn is the perfect reflection of our burning desire to ask this question and simultaneously a strategic solution to finding the answer. You don't need to feel the pressure of whether following someone on Instagram you knew a long time ago is weird, especially if you have to request it, because everyone just connects with everyone. It's only in your best interest and theirs to have more connections. So, there's no pressure. And, it's not weird. It's not like you're trying to gain a sneak peak into your ex best friend's lifestyle, snoop on the guy she's dating and analyze what kind of emojis she uses. It's a business thing! It's allowed and it's celebrated.
You never have to wonder: Why did he add me on LinkedIn? Did I just pop up in his "people you may know" section? Was it a gesture of some sort?
Who cares! No need to analyze, fret, or even spend one moment imagining useless and irrelevant possibilities. Now I have one more connection. Now I know what job he has. Mission accomplished.
If the popularity of LinkedIn is any indication that we aren't just sexting snap chats but also virtually shaking hands, then perhaps our so called lazy, unemployed and doomed millennial generation isn't so anti-business after all. Yes, LinkedIn might theoretically appear to be a platform for boasting and showing off, but when you really think about it, it actually functions more as a community of acceptance than a place to strut your stuff. That is one darn good social platform. LinkedIn got it all right.