‘The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.’ (John Maynard Keynes)
Once upon a time…I would often get tens if not, on occasion, hundreds of responses to blog posts on LinkedIn. It was a thrilling experience to receive insights, ideas and experiences from people all over the world. Over time, however, the huge flood of responses gradually diminished to a tiny trickle. I felt surprised, disappointed and bemused. What had changed?
I began to ask myself some searching questions: Were people bored with my content? Were fewer people using LinkedIn than before? Were fewer people engaging with posts on LinkedIn generally? I looked at which posts seemed to be getting lots of responses and noticed that they often looked more like Facebook posts: e.g. walking a dog, taking a child to school.
This set me off down a different track. Had there been a shift in societies so that people were no longer interested in thinking through issues and more interested in sharing personal experiences? Had Covid lockdown and isolation shifted our focus from insights and ideas towards the social and relational, to feel less alone? Had we all slipped into a TikTok world?
The problem was, I was asking the wrong questions. My starting assumption was that the critical issue was with my blog content. It led me, like Alice in Wonderland, down perplexing rabbit holes. It took a revelatory conversation with a marketing consultant, James Rowe, to discover the core issue was with my media, impacted by changes to LinkedIn algorithms.
What assumptions are you making? How do you avoid getting stuck?
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