Mind Readings: What Is Appropriate

Lots of posts about what’s appropriate in the workplace/on LinkedIn/etc. What’s appropriate? The answer varies wildly, is always contextual, and generally revolves around not causing harm.

Mind Readings: What Is Appropriate
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Christopher Penn 0:15

In today’s episode, let’s talk about what’s appropriate.

On LinkedIn, in particular, LinkedIn, I see this way the most on LinkedIn.

People are creating tons of content, tons, about what’s appropriate, what’s appropriate in the workplace, what kind of attire is appropriate in workplaces, are tattoos appropriate in the workplace, et cetera, et cetera.

And then those folks who are sort of the self appointed LinkedIn police, this content is not appropriate for LinkedIn.

jokes don’t belong here.

There was so much controversy, artificially created controversy about LinkedIn adding the funny reaction to a lot of its content, like that reaction has no bit place of business.

And that was like, I would hate to work at your company if things aren’t allowed to be funny, and you’re not allowed to laugh.

If you don’t want to work for you.

But that got me thinking, what does this mean, something’s appropriate or inappropriate, and who decides what that is? Obviously, in the case of the self appointed LinkedIn police, they and it is almost always a very specific demographic that is behaves like LinkedIn police.

I don’t need to name it, you can even look at yourself.

But who decides what’s appropriate? The answer varies wildly, like really wildly.

It’s always contextual.

But I would say that if you needed a benchmark for what’s appropriate, and what’s not, it revolves around not causing harm.

Right? If you have tattoos on your body, and you come into the office, and I’m in the office, does that cause me personally harm? Me? The answer is no.

Just in general.

Now, does your body do with it whenever you want? If your body is covered in tattoos that are wildly racist, and are supporting a point of view that says you would like to subjugate me because of the color of my skin.

Does that cause me harm? Sure does.

Does putting up a blog post or a piece of content or a meme on LinkedIn? That is just the usual like dad joke or whatever? Or a bit of clickbait? Does that cause me harm? No.

Does promoting an economic policy that would disenfranchise people who look like me people who are my nationality? Does that cause me harm? Yeah, yeah, it would.

And so if there were to be a standard for what isn’t is not appropriate.

I would argue the standard should be around causing or not causing harm.

You will see a lot of people arguing about whether something was woke or not.

Woke is just kind of a condensed way of saying, Will this content cause harm? Right? If you are using language that inherently hurts other people, has nothing to do with being woke it has to do with you’re causing harm, right? Think about the pandemic.

What happens if you call the COVID disease? A China virus what happens is you get more violence and discrimination against people of Chinese ethnic origin.

And for good or ill most people in the Western world can’t tell the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.

And so people who look like me, are harmed by that.

So changing the name from the Wuhan strain to COVID, you know, clade 19, a COVID.

COVID-19.

A does not say discriminate against a certain group of people.

It just says this is what this thing is.

Just like we have Omicron, ba five, right.

As opposed to the South African variant, right, that is going to create harm.

So what’s appropriate in the workplace, what’s appropriate on LinkedIn, what’s appropriate wherever? Probably shouldn’t cause harm, right? Ideally, should make the world or at least your your corner of the world a better place, a happier place, etc.

But I would also say that, especially on places like LinkedIn, less so in the workplace because it’s hard to do at the workplace, but especially on LinkedIn,

Christopher Penn 5:14

to the folks who are sort of the self appointed LinkedIn police.

If you don’t like something just hit that unfollow button, right.

Want to follow, I would remove that your connection to that person, it’s so much easier to do that than tilting it the windmills of social media.

If, if that’s how you spend your time.

You can spend your time however you want, but it might suggest there might be more valuable things you could do with your time.

Again, that, to me, that doesn’t apply if you’re causing harm.

If you’re putting up content on any social network that isn’t overtly racist or sexist or any guest and I see it.

I’m going to hit that report button, because it’s causing harm.

You putting up clickbait, about your your point of view on your industry doesn’t cause me harm.

That’s fine.

If I don’t want to see it.

I’ll just unfollow.

So what’s your thoughts about what’s appropriate or not? Again, I think it’s contextual, but I think the standard of not causing harm is a pretty good one.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for tuning in.

I’ll talk to you soon.

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