Dan* haphazardly makes his way through the crowded pub, knocking people’s pints and mumbling apologies. He trips over, manages to sloppily catch his balance on an empty chair and stands up to collect himself. After a few seconds of precarious on-the-spot swaying and trying to suppress the urge to throw up, he’s off again.
He’s a bloke on a mission to find a quiet, secluded spot where he can violently wretch his guts up after necking three jager bombs. According to Dan’s personal profile on LinkedIn, he is responsible, diligent and likes challenges. With his mournful expression and vomit dribbling down his ‘sex, drugs and sausage rolls’ tshirt, he looks anything but responsible. The only challenge Dan will be taking a dynamic approach to this evening is his journey home on the night bus from Romford.
Dan isn’t the only one telling barefaced lies on his social media profile. According to an April 2016 survey carried out by Custard, 75% of people surveyed admitted to lying about themselves on social media. While just 18% said that their Twitter and Facebook profiles truly represent them.
But this is hardly news to anyone. You only need to browse your social media feeds for five minutes to spot out a post where someone has exaggerated the truth. We know Tina’s ‘Lovely pamper session watching films with a glass of wine’ is really code for: ‘Crying over The Notebook and stalking my ex on Facebook because I’m really lonely after my breakup.’
On LinkedIn, however, it’s harder to tell when someone is sugar coating the truth – particularly because no one really checks their LinkedIn as much as Twitter. We don’t care about someone’s work anniversary – we want to read Donald Trump’s latest Twitter fart and Tweet our outrage. No one cares that you’ve spent five years in admin, Jen!
While people are trying to create more funny, attractive personas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – they’re trying to create a facade of professionality on LinkedIn. For example, one of my best friends almost exclusively communicates with me via cat pictures but on LinkedIn shares updates on b2b marketing. We all know people who share sophisticated articles on LinkedIn one minute and share ‘Embarrassing Fail’ videos on Facebook the next.
I have someone on Facebook who is quite possibly more right wing than Farage himself and spits endless, inarticulate rants about ‘Immigrants coming over here and taking away Christmas’. She’s on LinkedIn advertising herself as a friendly person who works well with others (as long as they’re white and British, probably). Sadly I can’t delete her – she’s a friend’s girlfriend.
And the person on your LinkedIn feed who just posted about starting an impressive new job? I can guarantee that their celebratory drinks ended with them with their head in a toilet after some questionable decisions.
I’ve actually updated my LinkedIn from bed whilst nursing a hangover, just to make myself feel better. I may have still been a bit drunk, with eyeliner smeared across my cheek – but my LinkedIn pals were none the wiser. All they knew was that I’d landed myself a fancy new job. And that was enough to quell any and gin-inflicted embarrassment from the night before.
I’m not saying that creating a professional persona makes you an awful liar. After all, if your employer knew what an asshole you were – they wouldn’t have hired you. So bending the truth and making yourself look like a capable, functioning adult is quite necessary. Plus, it makes you feel awesome. You’re witty, attractive and appear more rich on Twitter; meanwhile, you’re an intelligent career-driven person on LinkedIn. You’re just the full package. Well, according to social media…