Home » Business » I don’t ‘like’ LinkedIn and I think you shouldn’t either

I don’t ‘like’ LinkedIn and I think you shouldn’t either


Have you ever been to a networking event, conference or convention and after sharing a nugget of insight someone has just held up a thumb in response? No.

So why do you ‘like’ things on LinkedIn then? Is it that you’re trying to say something positive like “well done”, “glad to see how well you’re doing” or something similar? Then why not take 5 seconds to type that in the comments and talk as if you were facing the person in real life?

In most ways the more you treat LinkedIn like your normal business life the better it will work for you. I am not saying I never ‘like’ stuff on LinkedIn, I do, but it is quite rare (maybe 10% of the time, normally when I am on the move on the mobile and cannot type and walk).

The rest of the time I just act like I act, partly for brand consistency, partly for the business small talk that we all do when we are out to be nice but mostly to be a human being!

There are also great technical reasons for commenting as opposed to ‘liking’ things on LinkedIn, for example:

1) Comments are inherently more visible than ‘likes’ on LinkedIn, they show up more under messages and interactions.
2) Comments share some aspect of you, your personality, outlook or beliefs (be that positive or negative!), and it might be that resonates with the original author of the update or post or someone else that has interacted with it (or even liked!) who might then look at your profile or interact with you (at which point you’d do something like you do in real life surely?).
3) Comments that you make and the original message or post are also shared back to your own level one connections, reminding them about you and what you do – never a bad thing.
4) When you comment on a post and share it with your connections you are also demonstrating that you are engaged, listening and (yes) human – as we all are in real life.

So perhaps going forwards you might think carefully before you ‘like’ and try to comment more. See if it improves the number of people looking at your LinkedIn and your results. Practising skills makes platforms work, not just being present.


19 thoughts on “I don’t ‘like’ LinkedIn and I think you shouldn’t either

  1. Clare Evans

    Good points, well made. We’re so time-starved it’s easier to click ‘Like’ than to spend a few minutes adding a comment or responding.

    1. James Potter

      Thanks for the kind comment Clare, you know better than anyone the challenges on time from writing the Time Management for Dummies book but occasionally a little time investment can make a huge difference. I know it is easy, convenient and simple to click like but just maybe it doesn’t infer the communication or emotion we wanted to give off. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  2. Michael

    Inspiring! It does take more effort and I am practicing what you preached right now!
    One of my favorite quotes ” The reward for work well done is more work”

  3. Baak37

    You are right. It is cheap and easy so it isn’t much of a meaning (if that is proper English)

    1. James Potter

      Thanks for the kind comment Baak, you’re right and it is also limiting the chance of any casual observer or recipient understanding any conveyance of emotion, resonance or interest in your views or perspectives too! Thanks for the kind comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  4. @employmentlawup

    I was going to facetiously type ‘Like’ but commonsense got the better of me. You are right James – too often I’ve read articles and thought they were interesting but provided no feedback. And that comes from someone who sends articles out into the ether hoping for some interaction/ that some will find them useful.

    1. James Potter

      I think you have a great point that many just send stuff “out there” and then expect people to miraculously come back to them without any further hesitation, deviation or interaction. I think like is a bit of an efficient but meaningless trap brought from another social media platform (cough). Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

      1. @employmentlawup

        There’s a place for Twitter – it’s more immediate; you can react straight away. Also the feedback is quicker and more immediate than LinkedIn, reacting to the situation as it develops – i.e. conversations are had.

  5. Phil Stunell

    James I agree with you, but in an active discussion ‘likes’ allow you to endorse other people comments -and are useful when you have already made a contribution. They become a potential problem when people don’t invest time in ‘networking’ or building relationships.

    1. James Potter

      That is an interesting point Phil, yes liking others comments, particularly on status updates can be a good way to show that you feel the same or empathise but then a comment would do that to, but if you have already engaged I would agree. I guess, gut feel, I like things only 10-15% of the time myself but mostly in a similar way to you mention. Thanks for the kind comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

      1. Phil Stunell

        I use ‘like’ most frequently in discussion groups, when different and sometime conflicting opinions are being discussed. Typing a response to each comment destroys the flow of the discussion and becomes counter-productive – so I tend to post one or two comments – and like other comments that make a serious contribution or help my own understanding. I have observed some people who ‘must have the last word’ and think that behavior is equally damaging!

  6. Neb

    I totally agree. “Like” is loosely defined and serves no purpose in a business social media.

    1. James Potter

      Thanks for the kind comment Neb, it is interesting when we stop and think about it isn’t it? The problem is we are all running to keep up and look for efficiency but maybe not always the best way. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  7. Simon Gardner

    don’t be too hung up on visibility or whether “liking” or comments are more effective or whatever. just be genuine and learn as much as you can from the site.

    keep in mind that a “like” helps the linkedin content sorting algorithm sort the wheat from the chaff so by liking you’re making a small but real contribution to the community.

    1. James Potter

      LinkedIn is so much more than a reading source slgard, in fact quite often groups contain only the articles from people that have the spare time to write and post the latest thinking (?). Liking has an effect on post and updates, but not any different to comments in that context. What a like does do is hide your interaction / interest or profile if you’re not in the last two though :/ Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

      1. Simon Gardner

        Of course, but personal visibility is not the only metric by which we should seek to determine the best action. If someone has a relevant comment to make, then by all means make it, but commenting for the sake of visibility runs the strong risk of falling into the “uncanny valley”.

        A great many of the interesting posts I’ve discovered on LinkedIn have appeared in my feed as a result of a like by one of my connections.

        1. James Potter

          We certainly would never encourage you to comment for the sake of it that is for sure, but just treat the interaction as if you were in front of that person 🙂 Personal visibility is certainly not the be all and end of all LinkedIn, that is for sure 🙂 Thanks for the kind comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

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