LinkedIn vs X: Which Is Best?

The older I have become the more I have realised that the best things that have happened in my life have had little to do with judgement, planning and forethought – and everything to do with random chance and connection.

As I write this I’m coming to the end of a three week trip to Malaysia and Thailand. The single best restaurant I’ve been to didn’t appear in any guide book, recommendation or google search. Rather, it was mentioned in the Instagram story of a local photographer in George Town, Penang. I’d only started following him hours earlier as he liked one of my posts.

The happiness of random connection.

There’s a thing going around at the moment extolling the joys of LinkedIn, as it enjoys a renaissance few of us would have ever predicted. I’ve already outlined my issues with that platform before so I won’t repeat myself. For the record, I don’t mind LinkedIn, just as I don’t mind watermelon or Coldplay.

LinkedIn is alright. It’s a bit like Dubai, very efficient at getting you connections and taking you where you want to get to, but there’s something a bit fake about it all. A place to visit only if you really have to.

I jest of course, but it’s curious how many folk are coming out enthusiastically to bat for something so unremarkable as LinkedIn, at the same time as hating on Twitter.

X (Twitter) isn’t as good as it was in 2012.

This is true.

But let’s also remember that today NOTHING is as good as it was in 2012.

Musk has made some very odd decisions with the platform and it has seemingly over corrected towards the right, attracting some very odd people. It seems to have gone a bit mad since the pandemic, but I know a lot of people who HAVE gone a bit mad since the pandemic.

Musk haters can sometimes ignore the positives he has introduced, such as community notes and the ability to bookmark tweets and put them into folders. People are correct to worry about the effect of Twitter on debate, divisiveness and even on our mental health, but this is something that is a far wider, society level problem, that technology appears to be accelerating, or even directly causing.

My problem with X (Twitter) is that it’s lost some of the sheer randomness that was there in the early days of social media, but I’m unsure how much of this is the algorithm or simply a result of my own behaviour. Certainly most of us are a bit more careful and self-censorious than we were a decade ago with some companies reintroducing social media policies aimed at limiting personal expression. I’ve seen it suggested that people should not link their online identity to their employer anywhere other than LinkedIn, presumably as that’s seen as more corporate and safe. But corporate and safe doesn’t speak to me about the stuff I’m interested in: creativity, innovation and stupid ideas.

We discuss this in Let’s Talk Ideas with Chris Bolton AKA Whatsthepont. I mention this firstly because it’s one of our best episodes yet and you should listen, and secondly because Chris is one of the people I randomly met through Twitter and have then since met in real life and become friends. Chris introduced me to concepts like bikeshedding, Trojan mice, innovation antibodies and has been more influential on my work than arguably anyone in my own organisation. I really don’t think I’d have discovered him on LinkedIn as why would I go looking for a bloke who works for the Welsh Audit Office?

So LinkedIn or X (Twitter)? It’s a stupid question as the answer is obviously Instagram. You can connect with me there where I post mostly drone photos.

Or you can just ignore me, or even block me.

All of us just need to go where our passions lie and do the things we love and enjoy. Only through doing that will we find the inspiration to achieve the big and little things that make life worth living.

Random connections lead to all sorts of wonderful things, if you’re curious enough.

I don’t mind LinkedIn, but I just can’t ever love it.

Related: Designing for Humanity: The Role of Techno-Admin and Ethical Considerations in Microtransactions