If you have a LinkedIn account, you’ve probably fallen victim to the newest platform for doom scrolling. LinkedIn differentiates by presenting a “professional” online social media that allows users to create digital resumes, post about accomplishments or job changes, and sometimes, personal opinions.
These days, we all are guilty of self-branding. With Instagram, we show off our lives, from friends to travels. On LinkedIn, we post just about anything that seems impressive. Then, we compare our profile with others to make it even better.
In my opinion, this cyclical competition both benefits and distracts college students. There is a constant underlying need to impress others, which pushes students to become more and more involved (and sometimes, overbooked!) This can benefit students by creating pressure to join clubs or apply for jobs they otherwise would not, but of course… “it’s good for your resume.”
Don’t get me wrong: it can be beneficial, as this forces students to diversify their daily activities. However, at what point is competition unhealthy? Platforms like LinkedIn are wonderful resources for networking, learning about hiring opportunities, etc., but they also instill constant reminders of others’ endeavors. This creates pressure to increase performance and can lead to dissatisfaction with one’s accomplishments. Now, when proud of activity, it is rewarded through the instant gratification of likes/comments. But what does this really mean?
Additionally, students looking to make their first career choices can fall down a rabbit hole. Checking their peer’s accomplishments… stalking companies on Glassdoor to see what others earned at their summer internship… it all leads to more time spent worrying about how one looks online.
There is a constant seeking of validation from our online presence, which can lead to detachment from the present. Of course, a quick fix to would be to just delete all social media. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, in a world where social media has infiltrated our daily lives. Most jobs ask for a LinkedIn URL with applications now!
Creating boundaries between our “virtual lives” and “real lives” is important. Understanding the real reason you are posting and checking your accounts is helpful to pinpoint what is actually adding value to your day. When scrolling, ask yourself if you are using these platforms for informative purposes, such as finding internships or networking, or if you have succumbed to endless scrolling and comparison.
Often without even trying, we curate a second identity for ourselves in an attempt to find a balance of fitting in with standing out. This balance is merely impossible.
Can you even imagine what our digital identities will be like in 20 years? No, thank you.