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Are “Excited to Announce” Posts on LinkedIn Motivating or Demoralising?

Over the last couple of years, the phrase ‘social media’ has become typically synonymous with TikTok dances, hot Twitter takes, and podcast bros - we have endless content at our fingertips. On average, we use social media for 2 hours and 24 minutes daily, with 60% of the world’s population scrolling away. The top four most popular social media giants with the highest number of monthly active users, as of 2023, are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.


LinkedIn ranks in at 16th most popular, serving its unique purpose as a platform primarily focused on professional networking and recruitment, business and skill development, and sharing industry insights. With over 930 million members globally, LinkedIn is used by students, professionals, businesses, and more, for a variety of reasons.


Launched in 2003, LinkedIn state their vision is to ‘create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce’ and their mission is to ‘connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful’. Compared to its more attractive, sought-after siblings, LinkedIn, initially a job search engine, has adapted over time to offer something for everyone, allowing users to establish their personal brands, market their services, and cultivate career-altering connections.


LinkedIn differs from other platforms in many ways, one being the type of content we upload; the way we post and present ourselves on the feed tends to lean into professionalism and polish. As a Neuroscience and Mental Health Specialist, and a daily user of LinkedIn myself, I wanted to find out how the different type of content on the platform might impact users, and how the content is essentially received. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the more recurrent archetypes of posts on LinkedIn: the ‘excited to announce’, ‘happy to share’ posts.


Greg Bulla - Unsplash

The posts: celebrating, connecting or conceited?


Funnily enough, as a graduate I used LinkedIn to land my first full-time-big-girl role as a resourcer within the games recruitment industry, and naturally went on to become heavily acquainted with the platform in the following months. Having spent so much time on LinkedIn over the last 10 years or so, I have identified an unavoidable, unwritten custom, that I’ve participated in without even realising: announcing achievements. Excitedly, of course.


Social media allows us to accentuate our wins, encouraging us to curate a highlight reel of our successes. And when it comes to our academic and professional lives, there are plenty of different achievements to be ‘thrilled to share’ with our connections. It could be a professional milestone, a new role, a promotion, a qualification, or shiny new certification.


Maryam Matter - Author

Why we post about our wins on LinkedIn differs from person to person. Do we post to seek validation? To look good? To share our elation at having tasted the fruits of our labour?


Our achievements bolster our professional reputation and credibility within our networks and respective industries; they can earn us invaluable social currency, open doors and attract new opportunities. Our achievements inherently advance our individual journeys and are stepping stones towards both our personal and professional goals. Our achievements can bring us feelings of immeasurable joy, growth, and fulfilment. Our care motivates us to share.


Informing our network of our achievements can make us feel more connected, seen and supported.


So, we share our successes on LinkedIn for a number of different reasons, always with some level of self-involvement. The purpose behind the posts can vary, from enjoying the attention to inspiring others who might be in an earlier stage of their career. What’s clear is ‘excited to announce’ posts are commonplace on LinkedIn and are definitely here to stay.


How do ‘excited to announce’ posts make us feel?


Our social media content intrinsically reflects our identities and in doing so, provokes emotion from both perspectives: the content poster and the content viewer. LinkedIn allows us to keep up to date with the career achievements of our connections and reinforces that feeling of belonging to a community. Humans are innately social creatures, and we like to see what other humans are up to. This is especially true in the entrepreneurial-hustle-rise-and-grind-burnout culture that has swept social media in recent years, often perpetuated by the previously mentioned podcast bros.


The social climate of LinkedIn is deeply associated with achievement culture. It is far more appealing to share our wins rather than our failures, to maintain our pristine image. As the poster, we’ll most likely share the success with a sense of pride and fulfilment.


However, as a viewer, the impact of the post can vary.


Constantly scrolling a timeline saturated with others’ achievements can potentially be quite demoralising and result in a 'compare and despair' effect. More specifically, young people experience a consistent struggle of trying to reach ridiculously high, unrealistic, and sometimes unattainable levels of success. This has been deemed a ‘strong achievement imperative’, where young people using social media feel heightened pressure to present themselves as ‘flawless’. These persistent pressures lead to feelings of ‘inadequacy, critical introspection and depression’, as well as ‘jealousy, loneliness, stress and anxiousness’. Adults also feel the burden of trying to keep up with our colleagues and peers professionally.


When the content we see is disproportionately skewed towards achievements, it becomes difficult to visualise the journey to that desired destination. The journey, although hidden, often involves immense resilience, hard work, and a rude reality of rejection. The path isn’t always obvious, linear, or easily accessible. Pulling the curtain back to see the inner workings of success isn’t always pretty but is necessary to provide viewers with a bigger picture. The process and steps taken to reach the achievement are equally significant to, if not more significant than, the achievement itself.


Matt Duncan - Unsplash

On the other hand, ‘excited to announce’ posts can be a source of motivation and inspiration. There are countless role models we can connect with on LinkedIn. Our mentors, supervisors, friends, and yes, sometimes even influencers, can indirectly push us to aspire to greater academic or professional success. For example, seeing individuals who look like us or come from similar backgrounds, succeeding in our field of interest can be a massive morale boost. Having the opportunity to support each other as we climb the proverbial corporate ladder makes the difficult journeys and eventual rewards a lot more worthwhile and bountiful.


How ‘excited to announce’ posts impact us is fundamentally up to us, our own perspectives, and interpretations. We can decide how to react to this type of post. Nevertheless, the achievement-heavy landscape of LinkedIn has room for improvement.


How do we find balance moving forwards?


Finding balance on any social media platform, let alone LinkedIn, is challenging.


Shifting the narrative to share our failures, as well as our successes, demonstrates our humanity. Struggles throughout our career journeys are inevitable, not fictional. Sharing both our wins and losses at least provides viewers with a clearer view. However, we cannot control how our content is interpreted. If you are experiencing more negative feelings whilst browsing LinkedIn posts, remember that it’s totally acceptable to take a break from the platform. We can take action to improve our relationship with social media platforms, like LinkedIn, by acknowledging and taking the time to understand what causes our negative feelings to emerge.


I believe that authenticity, engagement, and transparency are key to progressing towards balance on LinkedIn. When we illustrate how our failures and trepidations were part of reaching the end result, and how they can be opportunities for growth, learning, and development, we shatter the façade of perfection, and invite our connections to see us as we are.

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