I have been experimenting with LinkedIn’s new “Creator Mode.” It offers some features that should help to promote my consulting practice. This is a for-profit enterprise, not merely “building my personal brand.” I hate that expression. Personally, I am a human being (and a nice guy) and not actually a product.
I am not a number! I am a free man! – Number Six
Among other things, Creator Mode allows people to “follow” me. This emulates the Instagram concept, which is fundamentally hierarchical, having followers and influencers instead of the peer relationship we know as “connection.”
This makes it a little awkward when I want to connect with someone. No one on Twitter or Instagram sends a personal request to “please follow me.” On the flip side, if I think we have a relationship, I want it to be mutual. I don’t want to become your follower.
I guess if you’re a superstar influencer with thousands of followers, that’s more valuable to you than connections. Not to me, though. I have built up my reputation through, as Tom Peters says, “having accomplishments and people who know about them.”
As I wrote here, I try to limit connections to people I have worked with, or met, or could at least identify in a police lineup. Followers are people whom I don’t know, but who enjoy my content. I try to post relevant material from HBR, McKinsey, and my own blog.
There should be a way to have both connections and followers, so here’s the workaround: when I am sending out connection requests, as I did this weekend for Autovate Austin, I turn off Creator Mode. When I’m back to posting content, I turn it on. This is a partial solution, and maybe LinkedIn will figure out a better one.