Why I Unfollowed 95.5% (1702) of my LinkedIn Connections

Originally published January 31st, 2019 on LinkedIn

I’ve networked a lot since I registered for LinkedIn back in 2011 when it was known amongst my friends as, “the Facebook for business professionals.” Sound familar? Ya it sounds like every tech pitch nowadays on Shark Tank.

That ever elusive “500+” was one of the prime motivators for why I networked like a maniac when I first started. Then, growing my network was solely for business relationship purposes. You know that age old adage “your network is your net worth” (excuse me while I hurl just a little bit for saying that).

What I never realized until last year was “man, my LinkedIn news feed is a mess.” Why am I seeing posts that have no relevance to me, my business, nor my learning. How much time was I wasting on this. Too much.

I think we can all agree that we see some shit on LinkedIn, posts, articles, that have zero relevance to a single individual. We end up spending more time filtering through articles to get to our close connections and their articles. It’s near impossible to find that one post that you found provocative an hour ago and want to comment on now. Hell, even adding a new connection meant LinkedIn would prioritize their content to see if I love it, so they can show me more of it. I was having none of it.

I still loved LinkedIn and the few posts that I found true value in. I wanted to love it. I really did. So I decided to get to the bottom of this and how I can use LinkedIn in a more positive and efficient manner.

LinkedIn — I love you but…

What I discovered was that every connection, no matter the relevance, once connected, LinkedIn followed them back. It was an auto-follow-for-follow scenario. For any true marketer, you will understand the frustration with this type of automation, let alone as a campaign, and I never recommend it.

I was like, “what the hell?!” so then I found that all magical Manage your followers button:

Clicked it, and realized, “holy hell, I follow a lot of people”. When in actuality, I don’t. LinkedIn was telling me to follow them. What made you believe that?

So I went through a tedious process of unfollowing a lot of people, companies, and groups…individually…

After a few bugouts, which is natural for tech because I also did this on Facebook and Instagram (Instagram was a whole lot easier by the way), I ended up only following 81 people.

Brilliant! Now let’s see what happens.

Connections I love you but…

No hard feelings. I’m anticipating on losing a lot of followers from this, but it is to be expected and I encourage you to do it! But if you care to read on, you will see the benefits from living like this for 4 months now.

Needless to say, I’m not going back to how it used to be.

Remember all those problems I mentioned above? Yup, all gone.

I’m spending less time on LinkedIn, albeit a bit more frequent with it though, but my time spent on here is a lot more productive and efficient.

I’m connecting with great minds, like minds, people I respect, people that offer unprecedented knowledge to fuel advance my knowledge in marketing and marketing science.

Finding those past posts which I didn’t have time to read at the time of discovery is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier to find.

I remember names easier. I’m more immersed in my newsfeed. I’m having positive experiences and spending less time filtering and more time consuming the right type of content. I actually end up spending more time on LinkedIn because everyday I’m gathering new, relevant, information on-demand…my demand (Content Marketers take note).

Best of all?

I’m wasting less time consuming irrelevant content, and I’m spending more time creating! Seeing all the negativity to some posts across all my social channels really hits you in the gut that maybe creating is not as fun as it looks. But it is. I’m caring less about the negative criticism by people who are venting their frustrations online — and creating. If you are like me, a kinesthetic learner, then you will know the power and importance of creating and practicing and honing your craft.

Here’s The Kicker

We all have something to learn at a deep individual level from this and only those at the cusp of technology, marketing, and CX understand this:

Don’t lead with technology. Be enabled with technology.

LinkedIn, as a technology, is now a valuable hammer in my toolkit. It’s a tool that works to my lifestyle, my behaviour, my persona, and overall, my personal preferences.

I strongly suggest everyone do this, because that last thing you want is to be subscribed to every person you connect. Like getting a second-by-second National Geographic magazine in your physical mailbox.

Andrew Yang, Marketing + Sales Architect. Be Human.™.

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