Let's fight the Feed!! (Starting with LinkedIn)

Hey folks! I’ve managed to get off almost all social media, so the only feed left in my life at this point is the one LinkedIn.

I’m thinking about starting some kind of petition or something to see if I can get LinkedIn to create a “Turn off the News Feed” feature. (I think this is actually a very winnable battle for this community. I think LinkedIn might want to choose to be a leader in this “humane” space.)

It’s widely understood at this point that feeds are bad for your health and wellness. I’m referring, by the way, to anything that has an infinite scroll of bite-sized, low quality content and some combination of “like,” “share” and “comment” - it’s the same junky feature set that powers almost every social media platform.

Anybody else interested in rabble-rousing a bit with me? A strongly worded open letter to LinkedIn and a bit of press would probably do the trick. :loudspeaker::angry::v:

While I applaud the initiative, I think you are greatly underestimating the value and purpose of ‘the feed’ for LinkedIn.

I am sure that LI employees look with worrying eyes to the deteriorating quality of the feeds in general, where the same problems of e.g. FB feeds are creeping in, and the content is ever less focused on professional job-related communication.

But asking them to drop it, would be comparable to asking Facebook to do the same: No chance.

On LinkedIn who are the customers, and who is the product? What is the revenue model?

  • Regular users that set up a ‘Free’ profile: they are the product
  • Recruiters and companies are the customers
  • Even Premium users are still the product. They only get somewhat deeper insights
  • Regular users willingly give up their CV and online behavior to be analysed by LI to benefit of their customer
  • The feed keeps attracts you to LI, keeps you online, and entices you to give content to analyse about you
  • The feed also has advertising in it (the ‘promoted’ postings)
  • The feed has algorithmic ordering designed to keep you on it for longer

Based on what you do on LI they map your (professional) social network, psycho-analyze you, determine your communication skills, your competencies. How who you say you are differs from how they measure who you are.

Are you reacting emotionally or rude when commenting to someones article post? Does your political color shine through? What does your language use say about your intelligence? All valuable insights for recruiters.

My conclusion: The feed is not going away easily.

Now personally you can do things to improve it. Make it more valuable to you. This is determined by who you allow in your network of connections, and by hiding / blocking content and users you don’t want to appear in your feed.

If you want to improve the Humane Tech aspects of LinkedIn, what you can do is:

  1. Suggest product improvements to LI with which they can monetize the regular user side, so you no longer have to be the product, and LI protects your interests instead of extracting value from you behind your back.

  2. Inform regular users on the ways to deal with LI so that it is mostly used in the way they want it to be used. This is an awareness thing. You better not start a shouting match, or trolling action in your comments, if you want to find good jobs.

  3. Organize public pressure on the whole monetization model of LI (not just the feed) and making them see that there are different, more humane ways to earn money. Show them the USP’s. This is similar to how Apple recently found out they could position themselves as the most privacy-aware tech company.

  4. Promote an attractive alternative platform, that does the same LI does, but in better ways. As people start to leave LI, they are forced to implement changes. A competition thing.

Regarding point 4: I think there are open-source projects underway to create platforms similar to LI where you are in control of your own profille. And these are decentralized, so there is no one entity getting full power and control.


Yeah. That all makes a lot of sense. Of course the feed isn’t going to go away easily. But still, something that I think really needs to happen soon is that we need widespread public awareness about just how dangerous and addicting the feed is. (Right?! I’d love to hear other opinions on this. The Feed is one of a small number of “common enemies” for this group, right? I feel like it’s possible to make a case for smartphones, for example. They need to exist, we just need to be better about using them. The Feed, however, really serves no positive function. We need to evolve away from feeds.)

Regardless, per usual, thanks @aschrijver so much for your thoughtful and thorough reply. (And, more broadly, for everything you do to keep this group moving forward.)

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Thank you, Bill! You could join the Awareness Program as a Campaigner. I am sure we can create some funny memes and such that demonstrate the danger over ‘overfeeding’ :slight_smile:

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Hi. I just joined this group, having heard about Humane Tech from a friend. It’s interesting. I don’t know the etiquette on this forum, but there are some alternatives to LI growing, including my new company, Preciate (preciate.org). Check it out and lmk if you want to discuss here or offline.