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I Left A (Semi) Controversial Comment on LinkedIn and This Is What Happened

Earlier this week, I commented on a post about LeBron James on LinkedIn. Admittedly, I don’t follow basketball much anymore and I know very little about James himself - but it wasn’t his game playing I was concerned with. My comment was about the language used in the post - something I care a lot about. Here’s what the post read:

Here was my comment: 

 

Many people agreed with my comment - but there were also plenty of folks who didn’t. The dissenters suggested that I was looking for the negative in a positive message, making a benign post into a race issue, or the worst of all: virtue signaling. (Had to look that one up). 


While the merits of the original post and of my comment can be debated (and they’ll all be right depending on one’s point of view), what’s undeniable is the fact that participating in this post discussion created a lot of engagement. This one comment is responsible for over a 1,300% increase in views of my profile, six new connections, and seven new followers on my business page. These types of gains are often hard won on LinkedIn, where professionals are selective about their network connections and where traffic is lighter and slower than on other platforms. 


 

Normally, offering comments or engaging in hot-button issues on social media (especially LinkedIn) is SO not my bag. I don’t like confrontation or controversy and, for better or worse, I fully acknowledge that the people pleaser in me prevents me from speaking up or taking a position very often. Therefore, this experience was a bit nerve wracking and eye opening for me.

Here’s what I learned: 

  1. What the experts say, is true: participating in key conversations on social platforms can, indeed, increase visibility and grow contacts. 
  2. It’s OK to challenge a topic sometimes. In fact, it's important.
  3. Others can have their opinions or judgments - they don’t have to mean anything to me.
  4. Most people on LinkedIn are highly respectful and professional (that’s why I spend time there).
  5. There’s a skill to receiving criticism from strangers without getting worked up about it.
  6. Having a tone that’s professional and open-minded keeps the focus on the discussion - instead of on who is right or wrong.
  7. Sometimes you just need to turn off your notifications :-) 

I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to make more comments about professional athletes anytime soon but, in this case, I’m glad that I did. Haters, trolls, and meanies will always exist and, as my business and online presence grow, I’ll need a thicker skin if I’m going to thrive. Not everyone will like or appreciate what I have to say...and that’s OK. 

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