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INfluencers, Haters and Trolls, Oh My!
By John Barrows | February 21, 2018

Who would have thought that a one-sentence question with no image posted on LinkedIn would have been my most viewed and commented on post of the year? A few weeks ago I posted this question on LinkedIn: “Out of curiosity, does anyone know how to become an INfluencer on LinkedIn?” It got over 120,000 views with 69 comments in less than 5 days.

It was a genuine question to my network since I was curious what it took to become a LinkedIn INfluencer and couldn’t find any updated information on it. I didn’t find the answer on the thread, but I did find out how much people apparently hate “influencers.”

Of the 69 comments 46 of them (2/3) were bashing influencers with sarcastic useless comments like “I think you have to copy and paste other people’s content and pretend it happened to you at least 3 times a day….” or “Change your LinkedIn job title to Thought Leader or #top100influencer.” There were only 18 somewhat useful comments with follow-ups.

And then there were the ever-present trolls who would say something completely ridiculous and then like their own post. It was impressive to see the post take off and how amused people seemed to be with themselves for posting such witty comments with no value. My question to all them is what’s the point? Did they think by making a smart ass comment they were going to get a gold star or did it make them feel good to make fun of others? I honestly don’t even know what the word ‘influencer’ means at this point or who is one and who isn’t but the fact that so many people express such hatred towards them is odd to me.

The same thing happened a little while ago on LinkedIn with people ripping apart SDRs and sharing bad e-mails they were getting. It’s fine to share a bad e-mail you got, but if you don’t explain why or how they could improve then you’re the one who ends up looking like the asshole.

IMHO: You’re not doing yourself any favors by making those type of no-value comments and you could be doing much more harm than good. For example, there are a few people on the ‘INfluencer’ thread I decided to look at and see what other content they were posting and decided to disconnect from them since the no-value, wise-ass comments seemed to be all they did. I’m not saying I’m all that important but when you’re on someone’s radar for a negative reason that’s never a good thing in the social world.

We’ve all heard the saying “if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” I think that should be changed to ‘if you don’t have anything of value to say then don’t say anything at all.’ Your personal brand is a direct reflection of the value you add.

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