Harlequin from LinkedIn

Bookstore shelves can barely carry the weight of self-improvement books, which change people’s lives over a weekend. How to understand other better, sell better, control emotions better and how to do everything better. Naturally the internet has also succumbed to the overwhelming need for self-improvement, crossing all limits of gold and silver thoughts


In no time when browsing LinkedIn I find such posts as: „our image is our approach to life” or “tomorrow begins today”. Just as in the Italian commedia dell’arte vividness and clown’s antics play a key role, the space of social media combines countless inspirations; like a costume made from colourful rhomboid patches. Online motivation is frequently a theatre of personal ambitions where roles are played by simple words and images, which give the audience easy inspiration.

Once Italian comedy, today LinkedIn blends style with comedy, the framework of which is defined by the scenario of social media. The actors – enthusiasts of online image building, can freely improvise; it is at times somewhat funny, sometimes somewhat eerie. With great determination users race to be the first to publish their inspired ideas, which are so naïve as to appear like chasing their own ambitions. The artificial smiles of successful people from popular photo banks intertwine with simple inspirations only to look like the chequered pattern on Harlequin’s costume – seemingly real, though we all know it has been made of mismatched pieces. If all was that simple it would have sufficed to change business schools into slide shows. How easy would life have been and full of successes … enough for you to understand such utterances as „you are not a tree, you can move”, „be the promoter of your own successes” – and many, many more. The question is what authors of the publication have in mind and what specifics flow from their clichés. In my mind they often provide only the frame of a picture where the canvas remains clear.

There are many best practices for keeping a dialogue in social media. It appears however that only the simplest of them have been tried and tested – be genuine, be yourself, be candid. Sometimes it is difficult to guess what people who promote cheap sales spiel; personally often see this as wearing a mask and making empty gestures. I do not intend to use these words to attack the freedom to use LinkedIn in business communication or even in creating a personal image. Observing the stream of publications however I keep getting the impression that the belief that unquestioning publication of simple slogans is to support effective promotion is quite widespread. Sad to say though – wrong way. Presenting complicated material in a simple way frequently goes beyond the limits of inspiration and becomes just shallow. Publishing truisms and preaching half-truths is dangerous ground in my view. It is also worth remembering that the authority of many of those whom we quote was not created by memes but by actual achievement. You can after all say something candid about yourself, your business and plans. You can also … say nothing.