Pallegram | #10

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Leaving La-La-Land: A plea for more honesty in social networks

Today our social networks seem to consist of only two extremes: On the one hand are the shamers and haters who drag everything and everyone down into the gutter, and on the other are the people who claim that everything is beautiful and perfect. On Facebook, these two groups at least seem to balance each other out, but on business platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing the entries are clearly all leaning in the same direction: I’m/we are the best, and the sky’s the limit.

Have you already posted a groufie (group selfie) on LinkedIn today, together with an appropriate motivational caption from the digital farmers’ almanac? Frankly, I don’t have the words to express how bored I am by one-dimensional accounts of this kind. For example, posts such as “We’ve just successfully finished our Design Thinking Workshop Week for the redesign of our e-mail footer. Thanks to the world’s best team!” are not motivational. Instead, I think they represent the ultimate surrender to one’s own fear of one day having to provide readers with genuine content.

Now please don’t rush to the attack! Before nasty remarks start flying in my direction in the comment fields and people start instructing me in the leadership principles for promoting empowerment, let me explain that I didn’t mean it in that way. By no means do I want to send positive posts, comments, photos or other expressions of emotion into the digital aether. On the contrary! It’s absolutely essential not to get lost in negative bubbles, and I also tried to make that clear in my post about enthusiasm about the future vs. “German angst.

But this monotonous “all of us are so great” posts without any context, always with the very same camera settings… Frankly, they simply annoy me. I’m starting to wonder whether LinkedIn and the other platforms for professionals shouldn’t put the brakes on before they deteriorate into versions of Facebook for supposedly hip businesspeople. Here too, we have to ask ourselves whether the Like button is the root of all evil. Is commitment really the ultimate hallmark of quality?

Constructive content requires courage

Content, content, content! Content that we’ll forget in the next five seconds whooshes past us on the social networks all day long. How can an individual post stand out from this massive onslaught?

It’s relatively easy to answer this question: by creating content that provides value added!

A comment that is constructively critical and challenges readers to develop their own perspective is definitely more exciting and expands more horizons than the 500th Like on an “everything’s great” post.

A supplementary link to an analytical article or column tells me that the person sending it has thought about the content of my post. In fact, in my opinion it raises him or her to the next stage of development. That person comes to life for me, and in my opinion that’s the most wonderful way to demonstrate the opportunities that are offered to us by social networks.

If we don’t realize that it’s not possible to dash off challenging and constructive content in two minutes at the breakfast table, we’ll never be able to fully exploit all the potential of swarm intelligence.

Every day, we’re carrying around with us the most high-performance mobile devices ever invented. They are equipped with cameras and sensors that people couldn’t even have imagined 50 years ago. Wherever we are and around the clock, we can use them to access all the knowledge of humankind and even expand it.

Let’s take advantage of these opportunities instead of choking the Internet with the next “Look at me!” post.

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Sascha Pallenberg

At the age of four Sascha sat for the first time at the 24h race at the Nordschleife. Ten years later, in 1985, he went online for the first time. At least for a month, because then the phone bill surprised his parents. But at least this time still forms the foundation for his passion for the intersection of mobility and the digital world.

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